Czech working groups to prepare for new nuclear units

29 January 2017

Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek said in a 26 January statement on the ministry's website that the government has approved the creation of three working groups which will seek to advance preparations for the construction of new nuclear reactors.

The aim is to support to the policy goal of increasing the contribution of nuclear to electricity generation. The groups will address three key aspects of new build: financial strategy, legal and legislative concerns, and technical-investment.

The Czech state energy policy (SEP), approved by the government in 2015, envisages one new unit at the Dukovany nuclear power plant and up to three more at Dukovany and the Temelin NPP. New nuclear capacity of 2500MWe is to be added by 2035, and more after that. However the SEP says new-build at Dukovany has priority over Temelín because of the need to maintain production at the plant after after its existing reactors are closed in about 2037.

The Czech Republic has six commercially operational reactor units: four VVER-440 units at Dukovany site and two VVER-1000 units at Temelín. Total installed nuclear capacity is 3924MWe which produces some 26.8TWh, up 8.5% since 2005. Nuclear accounts for 32.5% of electricity generation. Nuclear is expected to become the main source of electricity production in 2040 with its share rising to 46-58%. The share of lignite is expected to fall to 21%, with renewables providing 25% and gas 15%.

In January 2016, the government set up a new committee headed by the prime minister to coordinate the development of nuclear power and a new new nuclear envoy will co-ordinate these developments. The committee will be responsible for new construction, supply chain, wastes, and legislation to move the nuclear sector forward. A feasibility study for a new reactor at Dukovany is underway, and power utility CEZ has asked the Environment Ministry for an environmental assessment for two new units. An application for a construction permit is expected in 2025. Last  October, Rusatom Overseas (part of Russian state nuclear coporation Rosatom) submitted to the government and CEZ an offer to build a VVER-1200 reactor at Dukovany. Five other companies have also submitted offers: EDF/Areva, Atmea, China General Nuclear, Korea HNP and Westinghouse.



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