ČEZ highlights Temelín upgrades during anniversary celebrations

13 October 2015

Work to upgrade the Temelín nuclear power plant in line with European Union stress tests is to be completed by the end of this year, the plant's director, Bohdan Zronek, said yesterday. Czech utility ČEZ published Zronek's comments that were made to local media to mark the 15th anniversary of the plant.

Zronek also said that Temelín intends to sign new long-term contracts for maintenance work and to change the terms it sets in such agreements. He noted in addition that the plant had reached the highest output level since it started operations on 11 October 2000, thanks to CZK 4.5 billion ($190 million) in modernization work at its two reactor units.

Stress tests implemented at Temelín in the wake of the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan indicated that the plant had "sufficient resistance" to extreme natural influences, Zronek said.

"We have completed installation of equipment for burning hydrogen in the containment. We have thus completed all the planned technological modifications," Zronek said. Documents that detail the instructions for use of new equipment, and staff training, will be completed by the end of this year, thus concluding measures stemming from the stress tests, he added.

Over the last three years, Temelín staff have expanded ways to cool the reactor "by adding more independent sources of electricity for key safety systems or improving the equipment and facilities of their own fire brigades", he said. Workers can now communicate using satellite phones, he added.

Zronek said Temelín wants to use ČEZ and its subsidiaries as much as possible for maintenance work in order to increase internal expertise by relying less on external companies. New contracts are to be signed this year and next, he added. The current system of fixed prices for any given year is to be scrapped, he said, and lump-sum payments to suppliers are to be reduced. Safety requirements and the qualifications of suppliers to meet these demands are to be enhanced by including them in the contracts, he said.

Zronek said the plant's generation capacity has been increased by 10%, he said, from 1962 MWe to 2158 MWe.

"This already corresponds to a large coal-fired unit," he said. "We have not taken even another square metre of land, we have not burned even an extra tonne of coal; we have simply used existing equipment better."

Temelín has produced 14.95 TWh since the start of this year and is the biggest supplier of electricity in the country. However, a longer than scheduled outage at unit 2 means the plant will not this year exceed its record annual electricity production level, reached in 2012, of 15.3 TWh, Zronek said. The outage at unit 2 started on 17 April and was not completed until 19 August owing to repairs required to its non-nuclear parts. This meant that both units were offline for maintenance simultaneously for 27 days this summer.

The generation capacity of the plant was increased for the first time in 2007 when new high-pressure turbine rotors were fitted.

Separately, ČEZ announced today that it has sent an expression of interest in buying the German assets of Swedish utility Vattenfall.

"The assets on offer represent an exciting opportunity to expand the business of ČEZ with a number of synergies," the state-owned Czech company said. "ČEZ is ready to be a reliable partner for the region with its extensive know-how in the operation of conventional power plants and lignite mining," it added.

The assets would suit ČEZ's strategy to focus equally on renewable - including hydro power - and conventional energy sources, it said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News