Unit 4 of the Dukovany NPP in the Czech Republic has been shut down for refuelling. Besides fuel replacement, unit 4 will undergo regular repair and maintenance. Plant spokesman Jiri Bezdek said the unit will use for the first time new-generation fuel. Technicians will remove all 349 fuel assemblies from the reactor. Once the servicing is complete, they will return some of the used fuel and 78 fresh fuel assemblies to the reactor. The new assemblies will contain PK3+ fuel, which is designed to make the use of uranium in the fuel more efficient, Bezdek said.

"The new fuel type is one of the results of our efforts to continuously improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of operation of both our NPPs," said Bohdan Zronek, a board member of power company CEZ and head of the nuclear power division.

The new fuel is supplied by Russian fuel company TVEL. However, Zronek noted that CEZ, the operator of both the Dukovany and Temelin NPPs, is diversifying its fuel suppliers and is also expanding its storage capacity so that the plant can have fuel in stock for almost five years. Earlier this year, CEZ has agreed that future fuel supplies would be provided US company Westinghouse with deliveries expected to begin in 2024.

Image: Dukovany unit 4 which is currently shut down for refuelling