Cooperation between the Czech Republic and Hungary is developing dynamically in all areas. This includes economic cooperation in various sectors, where in the energy sector, ŠKODA JS plays an important role. ŠKODA JS has historical bonds in Hungary and is today building on and developing these bonds, making a significant contribution to the modernization of the Hungarian energy sector. Miloš Mostecký, Commercial Director of ŠKODA JS, presented to Diplomacy&Trade the company's history, present and future prospects and its plans in Hungary.
In the mid-1950s, the first attempts at peaceful use of nuclear energy appeared around the world. Czechoslovakia was one of the pioneers in this field. As early as 1956, a specialized department was established at ŠKODA to prepare for the construction of the first Czechoslovak nuclear power plant. This is the birth date of today's ŠKODA JS. We have been co-creating modern nuclear power for more than 65 years, Mr. Mostecký says. “We have the enormous advantage of continuity in the industry, building on our own and international experience, monitoring the development of the sector and in many cases contributing to it.”
ŠKODA JS a.s. is one of Europe's leading engineering and manufacturing companies with experience in the construction and servicing of nuclear power plants. During its existence, the company has supplied investment units, equipment and services for nuclear power plants, research reactors and spent nuclear fuel storage facilities in Central and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, France, Germany, USA, Austria, Finland, Belgium, PRC, Armenia and other countries. It has manufactured and delivered 21 complete VVER 440 type nuclear reactors and three VVER 1000 type reactors. In Hungary, ŠKODA JS delivered all four reactors of the existing Paks Nuclear Power Plant and also provided, for example, a complete upgrade of their instrumentation and control system. Since the 1990s, the company has also focused on Western markets and technologies. It cooperates with the world's leading companies in the field. Today, for example, it is working on a major delivery for the UK's Hinkley Point project. Half of its turnover comes from exports. Hungary is one of ŠKODA JS's three key foreign markets.
It is very important that ŠKODA JS has retained its character as a versatile company offering partners the most comprehensive solutions. It combines production, service and engineering under one roof, which, in addition to the know-how in the individual fields, brings the possibility of cooperation across disciplines and simplifies the supply chain for the customer.
An example is ŠKODA JS's key contribution to the completion of two units of the Mochovce nuclear power plant in Slovakia. The third unit is in the start-up phase, while work is continuing on the fourth unit towards its completion.
“At the Mochovce NPP in Slovakia, we are successfully learning how to work under the conditions of the latest European legislation and technical standards, we are one of the few companies that have up-to-date experience with such type of nuclear project. We are convinced that we will have the opportunity to apply our knowledge, experience and know-how in the construction of new units not only in the Czech Republic,” Mr. Mostecký says. “Of course, we also transfer our experience to our work in Hungary.”
In the 1970s and ‘80s, all four complete VVER reactors, i.e. pressure vessels including internal parts and control rod drives, of the Paks NPP were manufactured in Plzeň and installed under supervision of ŠKODA JS. In 2015, ŠKODA JS won the tender for the replacement of the control system at all units of the Paks NPP. The project was completed in 2020. “The reliability and safety of our equipment was confirmed in the test run on all units. This project increased the level of safety operation of the plant as well as it is one of important systems making possible extension of lifetime,” the Commercial Director points out.
He adds that this was an interesting and extensive ‘turnkey’ modernization project. ŠKODA JS with its partners (a Czech one and a local as well) replaced at Paks NPP the existing Reactor Control Systems, Reactor Rod Control System and Reactor Trip Breaker System with modern digital equipment. ŠKODA JS fulfilled the role of EPC contractor, creator of the Basic and Detail Design concepts. “Here we also apply our ability to effectively manage projects in an international environment, where supplies from the Czech Republic and activities provided by our Hungarian partners were integrated in one supply model.”
In 2021 ŠKODA JS concluded a framework contract with the Hungarian company MVM ERBE for engineering support – assessment of project documentation – of the Paks2 project.
Further negotiations are underway on the spectrum and scope of ŠKODA JS's involvement into other projects of reconstruction and building up new power units in Hungary.
The company’s Representation Office in Budapest (BROS) was established at the end of 2017 with the aim of obtaining the best possible position for ŠJS in preparation and future deliveries for the newly built Paks2 NPP in Hungary. “The Paks2 Project is a suitable target of our interest in the field of engineering activities in the preparation and implementation of new units, as well as our efforts as a supplier in the field of equipment for nuclear power plants,” according to Miloš Mostecký.
An integral part of BROS's work is obtaining information about interesting contracts and support for gaining our position in Hungary. It is therefore a search for business opportunities both in the field of nuclear energy (preparation and installation of the new nuclear power plant Paks 2 and support during the operation, maintenance and repairs of the Paks 1 power plant), but also obtaining engineering contracts outside of nuclear energy in areas close to the company's profile, especially in the field of Hungary's conventional energy, modernization of heating sources and the chemical and petrochemical industry. These activities are carried out in close cooperation with local companies as well as with the Czech Embassy and Hungarian Branch of Czech Trade organization,” the Commercial Director notes.
Regarding the plans of Business Representation Office of ŠKODA JS in Hungary, Miloš Mostecký emphasizes that BROS will continue to develop those tasks that were set before it, i.e search for business opportunities both in the field of nuclear energy (taking part in preparation and installation of the new nuclear power plant Paks2 and give support during the operation; maintenance and refurbishment of the Paks 1 power plant), but also obtaining engineering contracts outside of nuclear energy in areas close to the company's profile, especially in the field of conventional energy industry, modernization of heating sources and the chemical and petrochemical plants. Long-term tasks include obtaining the maximum share of the European (Hungarian) supply for Paks 2 in cooperation with Hungarian companies, becoming an indispensable partner for the modernization and operation of Hungary's energy resources and taking part in the field of modernization and maintenance of the Hungarian and Slovak petrochemical facilities.
ŠKODA JS has newly become part of the largest Czech energy company ČEZ, a.s. Under its new ownership, the company plans further dynamic development not only in Central European markets. “We are successfully continuing to develop our activities in all areas of our activity. Currently, also thanks to the connection with ČEZ, other markets in Europe are opening up for us, I believe in ending the war in Ukraine, restoring its energy infrastructure and therefore in the continuation of our good business relations in Ukraine. No less important the long-term cooperation in the production of parts for French reactors (currently for English EdF projects) as well as involvement in the preparation and implementation of small modular reactors (SMR), which is the possible further development of nuclear energy. We believe in the development of nuclear energy and want to be an important part of supply systems in the construction of new sources, especially in Europe,” he says.
“Hungary represents a very important and promising market for ŠKODA JS, where we want to build on a long tradition of cooperation with local and international partners. I am convinced that our representation team will actively contribute to this, with the task of developing existing contacts and preparing new opportunities,” the Commercial Director concludes.
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