Czech regulator awards site licence for Dukovany units

09 March 2021

The Czech Republic's State Office for Nuclear Safety (SÚJB) yesterday issued a site licence for two new reactor units at the existing Dukovany nuclear power plant site. ČEZ said obtaining a site licence means preparation for an announcement on tenders for suppliers to the expansion project can start.

The four existing Dukovany units (Image: MPO)

A team of SÚJB inspectors, specialists from the State Institute of Radiation Protection, and other experts, cooperated on the examination of the application for the permit, SÚJB said. This procedure, which took almost 12 months, evaluated the procurement safety report and other documents that are annexed to the application under the country's Atomic Energy Act. When assessing the application, SÚJB said it was able to rely on its longstanding knowledge of the site and its characteristics because it supervises the safety of the four existing units of the Dukovany plant.

"No facts preventing the issuance of the permit were revealed during the evaluation," SÚJB President Dana Drábová said.

The SÚJB issued the licence at the request of Elektrárna Dukovany II, which filed its application on 25 March 2020. It has been published on the SÚJB website following its entry into force.

Elektrárna Dukovany II, a subsidiary of Czech utility ČEZ, said receipt of the site licence was one of the most important preparatory steps before the start of construction and the selection of a supplier. The preparation and processing of the documentation for the licensing procedure took five years, ČEZ said, and included more 200 professional studies and analyses. All the main materials produced for this work are publicly available, it added.
Three dozen experts from Elektrárna Dukovany II, ČEZ and other institutions, such as the Research Institute of Water Management, Masaryk University or ÚJV Řež, processed the documentation, which comprises more than 1600 pages.

"We paid a lot of attention to and put a lot of effort into the preparation of the documentation and to the administrative procedure itself," said Daniel Beneš, chairman and CEO of ČEZ. "In addition, we have been as transparent as possible and have published, for example, the entire Procurement Security Report and other materials, so the public has free access to them."

The documentation describes and evaluates, inter alia, whether the site is suitable for the location of a new nuclear facility. It deals, for example, with natural conditions, including water provision, describes and evaluates the design of the project, quality assurance issues and also addresses the preliminary impact of operation on the population and the environment, and of the future decommissioning of the plant.

"We have been preparing documentation in this way since 2015 and above all it allows us to take into account possible other energy and climate targets in the future," said Petr Závodský, CEO of Elektrárna Dukovany II.
Elektrárna Dukovany II was established in 2015 to manage the preparation for construction of the new units.

The company obtained an environmental impact assessment report for the project in 2019. This was followed by the signing of contracts between Elektrárna Dukovany II, ČEZ and the government, represented by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in July last year. The government signed a framework agreement on the construction of the new unit with utility ČEZ and project company Elektrarna Dukovany II in July. That agreement aims for ČEZ to hold a tender for the reactor supplier, negotiate a contract and receive all the required licences by 2024, so that the unit can be put into operation in 2036. The government has agreed to provide guarantees for any political or legislative risks the project may face.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News