ČEZ and NuScale to explore Czech SMR deployment

26 September 2019

NuScale Power has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ČEZ, to explore applications for its small modular reactor in the Czech Republic.

The agreement calls for a sharing of nuclear and technical expertise between the two companies as they examine applications for NuScale's SMR. Specifically, NuScale and ČEZ will exchange information relating to nuclear supply chain development, construction and operation and maintenance, NuScale said.

ČEZ Group produces nearly three-quarters of the total electricity generated in the Czech Republic from a diverse portfolio including coal, hydro, wind, solar photovoltaic and biogas power plants as well as nuclear power plants at Dukovany and Temelin. The four units at Dukovany and two at Temelín - all Russian-designed VVER pressurised water reactors - generate about a third of the Czech Republic's electricity.

ČEZ Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Beneš said the partnership with NuScale was a "logical next step" for the company. "We have a long-term orientation on new solutions and technologies. Our technical-engineering company UJV Rez is already researching small modular reactors, which represent an important future alternative that cannot be ignored," he said.

Czech Vice Premier and Minister of Industry Karel Havlíček said the Czech government gives top priority to innovation, such as small modular reactors.

NuScale Chairman and CEO John Hopkins said the MoU "highlights the rapidly growing international interest in our technology, and will give us the opportunity to examine how best to deploy the NuScale SMR in Europe in the coming years".

The Czech Republic's 2015 energy policy foresees new reactors at both Dukovany and Temelín, and the government earlier this year gave preliminary approval for ČEZ subsidiary Elektrárna Dukovany II to build at least one new nuclear power unit. The first new reactor envisaged for the site would be of at least 1200 MWe, to replace the four units in operation there that are expected to be permanently shut down between 2035 and 2037.

NuScale's SMR design features a fully fabricated power module based on pressurised water reactor technology, with a gross capacity of 200 MWt or 60 MWe. The scalable design can be used in power plants of up to 12 individual modules. The technology is undergoing a design certification review by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is scheduled for completion by September 2020, and a 12-module NuScale plant at a site at the Idaho National Laboratory is planned for deployment mid-2020s.

NuScale in March signed an MoU with Romanian energy company Societata Nationala Nuclearelectrica SA to explore the use of SMRs in Romania, and the design has also been selected by Fermi Energia as one of four designs to be included in a feasibility study on the suitability of SMRs reactors for Estonia’s electricity supply and climate goals beyond 2030.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News