Czech utility CEZ has launched a public tender for a contractor for two new reactors at its Temelin nuclear power plant with a view to build more units abroad.
|The existing Temelin units (Image: CEZ)
CEZ said that the exact type of reactors and their capacity would be determined during the tender process, but the units would be Generation III pressurised water reactors (PWRs).
The Temelin plant was originally intended to house four Russian-designed PWRs, but plans were scaled back to the current two units following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. This means that certain infrastructure is already in place for the two new units, CEZ said.
CEZ management concluded that Temelin units 3 and 4 should be constructed on the basis of a comprehensive analysis, which took two years to complete. The company said that the analysis considered all options - ranging from importing black coal to the development of renewable resources: "Completion of the nuclear units in Temelin is the best variant of a new source of electric energy as far as economic, logistic and technical criteria are concerned."
In July 2008, CEZ requested that the country's Ministry of the Environment conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of two additional reactors at the Temelin plant. The company said that the launch of the public tender for the new units "is the follow-up step of administrative preparation of the completion of the Temelin nuclear power plant."
It said that it expects the entire administrative process to last some seven or eight years and that construction of the Temelin 3 and 4 could be completed in some 15 years.
CEZ looking abroad
In a statement, CEZ said that in addition to the two new units at Temelin, "the public tender includes a requirement for unilateral options for the benefit of CEZ regarding construction of up to three more nuclear units in other potential locations within Europe." The company did not disclose when or where these further units would be built.
In May, a shareholder agreement for a joint venture to construct a new nuclear power plant at the Bohunice site in Slovakia was signed by CEZ and Slovakian state-owned nuclear and decommissioning company Javys. Under the agreement, Javys will hold a 51% stake in the joint venture, with CEZ holding the remaining 49%.
The joint venture will conduct a feasibility study into the construction of a large new reactor at the Bohunice site, to replace power from the shutdown Bohunice (V1) units 1 and 2, both Russian-designed VVER-440 units. This study is scheduled to be completed in 2010.
Plans for a fifth unit at Bohunice, referred to as Bohunice V3, were announced in April 2008 and are for a 1000-1600 MWe reactor. In December 2008, CEZ preliminarily agreed to be a 49% joint venture partner in the project. Plans call for construction of the new unit to start in 2013, with the plant beginning commercial operation around 2020.