Roman ZDEBOR, Branch Managing Director, EDF Nuclear Czechia
Can you briefly present yourself and introduce us to EDF Nuclear Czechia? Its missions and objectives?
My name is Roman Zdebor and since June 2022 I am the Branch Managing Director of EDF Nuclear Czechia.
In the almost 30 years of experience in the nuclear industry, mainly associated with ŠKODA JS a.s., I have held a number of positions ranging from commercial activities on the Paks nuclear power plants in Hungary and Kozloduy in Bulgaria, through last almost two decades in the positions of Quality Director and New Nuclear Power Resources Director. During my time at ŠKODA JS, I also had the experience of working with the French nuclear industry, in particular with Framatome and EDF, during the implementation of the Olkiluoto, Taishan and Flamanville EPR construction projects. I personally participated in the preparation of the ŠKODA Alliance’s Czech bid for the completion of the Belene NPP. And from 2009 to 2011, I led the team responsible for the qualification of the consortium that applied for the construction of the Temelín 3 and 4 nuclear power plants. More recently, I worked as a project manager responsible for Construction readiness at Hanhikivi NPP in Finland.
Earlier this year I decided to join EDF as the Managing Director of its new branch in Prague. The opening of our Prague offices, in the heart of Europe, marks an acceleration of EDF’s ambition to build strong working relationships and partnerships with ČEZ and our Czech industrial partners and suppliers, while the company has been working since 2016 intensively to support the launch of the Czech nuclear new build program, especially for Dukovany 5 tendering process.
The activity of the office is focussing on pursuing the engagement EDF has built over the last years with all key stakeholders involved in the Czech nuclear program, namely in the context of the bid processfor the construction of the Dukovany 5 nuclear power plant with our EPR1200 technology. The office is also actively contributing on pursuing the appropriation of SMR technology for the Czech Republic as we progress on the development of our NUWARD SMR technology (a 340 MWe plant composed of 2 reactors of 170 MWe each).
At EDF we are very confident in our ability to mobilize the full potential of the Czech nuclear supply chain. That is why one of my key objectives is to embark the Czech industry into EDF’s European supply chain by establishing long-term partnerships and accelerating qualification of Czech suppliers. The office is the Czech extension of EDF’s New Nuclear Development Division and will therefore fully benefit from the support of the Group’s engineering and commercial teams.
Could you present the Czech French collaboration in general and for the Dukovany 5 NPP project? And in a nearest future for European project?
‘EDF’s artistic view of an EPR1200 at Dukovany” EDF copyright
CZECH FRENCH COLLABORATION FOR THE SUCCESS OF DUKOVANY 5 AND BEYOND
EDF is offering the Czech government and ČEZ a comprehensive and fully integrated offer for the construction of an EPR1200 nuclear power plant at the Dukovany site as part of a tender process launched in March 2022. EDF has also committed to supporting the construction of additional units in Dukovany and Temelín as part of the Czech government’s ambition to extend its nuclear program to additional four units.
Bringing a fleet of 4 EPR1200 units in the Czech Republic would bring significant benefits to the local industry as well as economies of scale, as part of EDF’s wider EPR fleet program in Europe.
As the only European offer for the Czech nuclear program, I truly believe in EDF’s motivation and capacity to forge a long-term commitment to ČEZ, the Czech government and the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic and France have a coordinated role to play in defending and promoting nuclear technology in Europe. That is why EDF is demonstrating its dedication not only to the construction and delivery of Dukovany 5 but also its intention to be an active partner for the Czech nuclear program in all its future phases.
EDF’s comprehensive and fully integrated offer for ČEZ and the Czech Republic is based on 5 key pillars:
- Proven technology with the highest safety standards, the EPR1200 technology is completely based on the fully proven EPR design, which has already been licensed in three European countries
- EDF’s extraordinary experience in the design, development, construction, commissioning, and operation of nuclear power plants worldwide
- A strong industrial supply chain based on EDF’s historical partners.
- EDF’s experience of local supply chain engagement with tailor-made localization programs
- The concept of a “European fleet» based on EPR technology with a number of more than 20 EPR reactors in operation, development and/or construction in Europe, which will provide synergies and opportunities for the mutual benefit of the Czech and French industries.
- EDF and its tier one partners have mobilized more than 200 experts for the preparation of the Dukovany 5 offer. Thanks to EDF’s experience in deploying EPR technology in different site conditions and regulatory environments, EDF is on track to propose an EPR1200 adapted to the Dukovany 5 site, with guaranteed high operational performance and within the timeframe set by the Czech government.
CREATING VALUE FOR THE CZECH REPUBLIC
EDF is the world’s largest nuclear operator with an unrivaled track record and expertise across the nuclear value chain. The group currently operates 69 reactors, representing more than 2,000 reactor-years of experience, and 50,000 employees across the nuclear chain.
EDF’s EPR1200 offer for the Czech Republic will bring economic benefits to the Czech economy, as it encapsulates broad and long-term business opportunities across all phases of the project and during the next 60 years of operation.
Should EDF be selected as the preferred bidder, thousands of jobs, including highly skilled ones, will be created during the construction of the Dukovany 5 EPR1200 project.
The project will also create a number of induced jobs for the local economy in the vicinity of the power plant. EDF will organize and implement programs that will help local people get jobs through training, developing apprenticeships and supporting local businesses for all services (transport, catering, etc.).
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUPPLIERS
Our EPR1200 for Dukovany 5 offer aims to fully utilize and expand Czech engineering, production, installation and construction capacities. Our approach to localization will provide Czech companies with significant opportunities in the Dukovany project and beyond. EDF considers localization as a lever for the development of qualified resources and the support of the Czech economy.
The involvement of individual countries will also benefit the project and help achieve global competitiveness. Czech suppliers will have opportunities to enter new markets, especially other EPR projects in the world. EDF relies on the experienced Czech nuclear industry and wants to cooperate with an exceptionally qualified Czech supply chain in order to maximally support the Czech economy and ensure a high level of local participation. EDF has thus already made significant progress in localization and skills development through cooperation with leading Czech industrial clusters:
- more than 50 Czech companies have already passed preliminary qualification, in particular in the field of machinery, which is a key strength of Czech industry
- Dozens of cooperation memoranda were signed in 2021 with key Czech companies in a diverse range of expertise (assembly activities, pumps, fittings, I&C…) and many others are currently being discussed
- 3 events for suppliers have been organized throughout the Czech Republic and more will follow (more than 50 leading Czech companies participated in the last «French-Czech EDF Supplier Day» held in June 2021 at the French Embassy in Prague)
Thanks to our proven localization process we have already begun working with our Czech partners in providing them with the identification, training, and support in acquiring the appropriate skills and knowledge in order to contribute to the Dukovany 5 EPR1200 Delivery Team. EDF’s localization process includes:
- comprehensive assistance to its clients until they become fully independent in the field of human resources development (support in developing the relevant strategy, in simulating scenarios to identify potential impacts and in recruiting employees at the right time).
- tailored training with over 650 qualified and recognized professional instructors and 35 training centers.
- contribution to the creation of an on-site nuclear operator training center using a full-scale Simulator at each location.
EDF Supplier Academy offers a localized training programme on EDF’s technical and quality requirements for companies wishing to qualify as suppliers for EDF’s nuclear power plants projects. The training programme includes an overview of EPR technology, nuclear safety culture, familiarization with regulations, codes and standards, description of technical specifications and quality requirements.
Finally, EDF is open to sharing its long-term experience in supporting its clients in the field of human capacity building.
EDF Supplier Academy offers a localized training programme on EDF’s technical and quality requirements for companies wishing to qualify as suppliers for EDF’s nuclear power plants projects. The training programme includes an overview of EPR technology, nuclear safety culture, familiarization with regulations, codes and standards, description of technical specifications and quality requirements. Finally, EDF is open to sharing its long-term experience in supporting its clients in the field of human capacity building.
What are the major challenges for your sector in the national and international area in the world of today and tomorrow?
In the Czech Republic, the biggest current challenge connected with the Dukovany project construction is the gradual decline of experienced workers from the nuclear industry, combined with insufficient interest of young people in studying at technically oriented schools, even secondary or university education. Previously a strong, long-term and experienced supply chain, which was able to build and put into operation a number of nuclear units in the former Czechoslovakia in the 80s, now, in addition to the loss of experience, it also faces a lack of orders from the nuclear field.
A number of companies either went bankrupt outright or gradually reoriented themselves to other types of production. We have certainly not yet lost the ability to build a nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic, but a number of problems have arisen in the meantime, and a lot of effort and investment will be needed to bring the Czech nuclear industry back to where it always belonged.
A similar trend can be observed across developed countries in Europe, North America and Asia. Despite efforts to rekindle the attractivity for nuclear power through innovation in design, such as with SMR, our industry is still struggling to bring people, and especially younger generations, to be passionate about nuclear.
Of course, the dramatic events taking place in Europe right now have exposed the energic fragility of our western economies. Yet they have also provided for a large part of the population to appreciate the incredible economic, social, and environmental benefits that nuclear power has to offer.
That being said, it is clear that we, as an Industry, can no longer function as we did in the 1980s or 1990s. We are adapting to a new way of designing, building, operating nuclear that take into account the technological, social and economic changes that our societies are undergoing. I firmly believe that together we are stronger, that is why building strong alliances with like-minded partners that will be there in 20… 50… 80 years from now is fundamental. The European framework and European cooperation in general is by all means one of the most efficient tools for securing safe, reliable, and long-lasting partnerships on the international level.
Branch Managing Director
EDF Nuclear Czechia, odštěpný závod
Štěpánská 644/35, Nové Město, 110 00 Praha 1