ČEZ identifies two further preferred SMR sites

28 February 2023

The Czech Republic's ČEZ's first small modular reactor (SMR) project is to be near the Temelín nuclear power plant. It has now identified the coal-fired power plants at Dětmarovice and Tušimice as the preferred locations for its second and third SMRs.

How an SMR site might look (Image: ČEZ)

ČEZ believes that these two sites could be up and running by the second half of the 2030s.

In many countries there are emerging plans to use SMRs as an emissions-free replacement energy source at existing coal-fuel power plants - the advantage of choosing such locations is that they often include existing energy grid infrastructure, a site which is already approved for an energy plant, as well as having an available workforce.

ČEZ is also looking at further current coal sites - Prunéřov, Ledvice, Poříčí and Mělník - although it says that Poříčí will not be taken forward "due to the almost certain presence of an active fault near the site, which precludes the placement of nuclear technology".

Tomáš Pleskač, Member of the Board of Directors and ČEZ Chief Renewables Officer, said: "Small modular reactors are not a substitute for large nuclear units, but a complement to the energy mix of the Czech Republic as a suitable replacement for coal-fired power plants and large thermal power plants. The SMR construction programme represents a great opportunity for the Czech economy - it offers production of nuclear equipment, substantial involvement in the supply chain, and the creation of a regional service and training center. In order to take advantage of the opportunities of the SMR program, action must be taken quickly."

Intensive exploratory and monitoring work is now taking place at the two preferred sites to check they are suitable - the work is primarily focused on any active tectonic faults, the hydrogeology and the bedrock. The studies are expected to be completed by the autumn.

ČEZ says "the transformation of a non-nuclear site into a nuclear site requires a series of exploration activities lasting 3-5 years before the permit process can begin".

The company has signed memorandum of cooperation agreements with SMR developers NuScale, GE Hitachi, Rolls-Royce SMR, EDF, Westinghouse, KHNP and Holtec.

The first SMR is planned for the the South Bohemia Nuclear Park site, part of the wider Temelín nuclear power plant location. It has not yet been decided by the company which type of SMR will be built there.

According to World Nuclear Association, small modular reactors are defined as nuclear reactors generally 300 MWe or less, designed with modular technology using module factory fabrication, pursuing economies of series production and short construction time.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News