Czech power company ČEZ has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the South Bohemian Region and ČEZ subsidiary ÚJV Řež for the establishment of the South Bohemia Nuclear Park. The project aims to accelerate the preparation and introduction of small modular reactors (SMRs)in the Czech Republic. In March, ČEZ announced that the first SMR pilot project should take place on the site of the current Temelín NPP.

Under the MOU, the signatories undertook to cooperate in the preparation of SMR technology, the assessment of their energy, financial and technical feasibility, the cooperation of the public, private and academic sectors and the preparation of licensing.

"We are one of the European leaders in the field of nuclear energy and we want to maintain this advantage in the future. We currently see the enormous safety and financial importance of this, which is why we want to play a very important role even in the case of small modular resources," explained Pavel Cyrani, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director of CEZ's Business and Strategy Division.

"I see the future in small modular reactors. Of course, the safety of our inhabitants is key for us, but at the same time I want South Bohemia to be a leader in this,” noted Martin Kuba, President of the Association of Regions of the Czech Republic and Governor of the South Bohemian Region. “This is a huge opportunity and a centre could grow here in the south of Bohemia, where experts from all over the world could meet and Czech companies could get involved in the development and production of components. There could also be a training centre for operators of such new power plants."

CEZ Group has already signed memoranda of cooperation on SMRs with NuScale, GE Hitachi, Rolls Royce, EDF, KHNP and Holtec. Through ÚJV Řež, CEZ Group is also developing SMRs. For example, the HeFASTo project or the Energywell project are at an advanced stage of research.

"The intensification of work on small modular reactors does not disturb the plan for the construction of large nuclear power units in Dukovany and the Temelín locality. Although we are preparing the first SMR project for the Temelín site, small modular reactors are suitable as a replacement for existing coal-fired power plants,” said

Tomáš Pleskač, a member of the Board of Directors and director of ČEZ's new energy division on supplies.

The South Bohemian Nuclear Park is a joint project of all parties involved, which covers research, development and preparation of the construction. However, an investor has not yet been decided. 

Image: ČEZ and ÚJV Řež sign MOU for the establishment of the South Bohemia Nuclear Park (Source: CEZ Group)