ČEZ applies to build two new units at Dukovany

31 March 2020

Czech utility ČEZ has applied to the State Office for Nuclear Safety to construct two new reactors at its Dukovany nuclear power plant. Four VVER-440 units are currently in operation at the site, in Vysočina Region.

The Dukovany nuclear power plant (Image: ČEZ)

The company filed its application to the regulator on 25 March. The application is for two pressurised water reactors, each with a generating capacity of up to 1200 MWe.

In a statement, ČEZ said the submission of its application "concluded its five-year preparations, being now ready for the licensing process in accordance with the Atomic Energy Act." The company has also published about 1600 pages of documentation that were attached to the application. Over 30 experts from ČEZ and other institutions contributed to the documents, which consist of more than 200 expert studies and analyses.

The materials describe and assess the Dukovany site's characteristics, examining the natural conditions, water supply and human activities near the power plant. They also describe and evaluate the project's concept, quality issues and preliminary impact of operations on the population and environment, as well as the future decommissioning of the power plant.

In order to characterise the subsoil's condition, geological drilling was performed at over 170 spots at the future construction site. Thirty deep wells were also drilled in order to monitor groundwater up to a depth of 150 metres. Exploratory drilling was performed at another 66 locations in the surrounding area. Twenty geological exploratory trenches were also excavated, supplemented by more than fifty measurements along a length of over 20 kilometres.

"As with any environmental impact assessment, our goal in licensing is to maximise openness and transparency, which is why we have also published the entire Tender Safety Report so that the public can freely access the key document," said ČEZ CEO Daniel Beneš.

In July 2019, the Czech government gave preliminary approval for Elektrárna Dukovany II - a subsidiary of ČEZ - to build at least one new nuclear power unit. The decision was announced in a government resolution published by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The government's energy policy, approved by the cabinet in June 2015, foresees one new unit at Dukovany, and possibly three more at the Dukovany and Temelín sites.

With the filing of its application, ČEZ said: "The procedure makes it possible to consider the energy and climate objectives of the Czech Republic, which are currently being specified, and only then can the construction of one or two power blocks in the future be decided."

Six companies are understood to have shown interest in building new nuclear units in the Czech Republic - China General Nuclear, EDF, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Rosatom, Westinghouse, and the Atmea consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and EDF. However, the Atmea joint venture reportedly no longer plans to participate. Under the current schedule, the reactor vendor is to be selected by the end of 2022 and a construction licence issued by 2029, with commissioning expected in 2036.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News