Russians and Americans jostling for Temelín

New nuclear reactors are become a rarity in Europe, which makes the case of the Czech Republic’s Temelín power station all the more interesting, for which the Russians and Americans are engaged in a competition that involves politicians, lobbyists and secret services.

Participants in the call for tender to build the new reactors at Temelin are pretending that it’s just business [the contract is estimated at between 8 to 12 billion euros]. They’re not interested in the politics, or only marginally. “The less the political interference, the less the lobbying, the better for the decision-making,” says the vice president of the Russian company Rosatom, Kirill Komarov.

The Americans are talking up a similar line: “We’re just trying to ensure that those who do make the decision have full and accurate information at their disposal,” says the vice president of Westinghouse, Mike Kirst.

The reality, however, is more colourful. Adding the reactors to the Temelin plant is a strategic contract worth billions of euros. And that’s why it’s so important for the companies mentioned, as well as for politicians in the highest offices to land it.

A report last year from the Czech counterintelligence agency, BIS, confirms that Temelin is a major issue that goes well beyond companies’ balance sheets. The interests of the Russian intelligence services, the agency reported, were dominated by the economic issue. Russian intelligence officers could be met “at various social events, where they attempted to strengthen old contacts and make new ones.”

Full article: Russians and Americans jostling for Temelín (Presseurop)

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