France’s Orano has signed a contract with Czech electric utility ČEZ for the supply of uranium enrichment services. The enriched uranium will be used in fuel for the Dukovany NPP. The contract was signed during a trip by President Emmanuel Macron, to the Czech Republic to strengthen bilateral cooperation, particularly in civil nuclear power.

This follows an earlier long-term agreement on conversion and enrichment services signed late 2023 for the Temelin NPP. “We are pleased to extend our long-lasting cooperation with our historic customer ČEZ,” said Orano CEO Nicolas Maes. "Securing a Western supplier of uranium enrichment services for Dukovany is not only an important step for the Czech energy industry, but also for the entire Czech Republic. This significantly further strengthens energy security," says ČEZ Group Board Chairman & CEO Daniel Beneš.

Four VVER-440 units are currently in operation at the Dukovany site, which began operating between 1985 and 1987. Two VVER-1000 units are in operation at Temelín, which began operation in 2000 and 2002. CEZ began a process of diversifying its fuel suppliers in line with European Union policy with a tender in 2018. Previously fuel was supplied by Russian fuel company TVEL. CEZ still has some TVEL fuel assemblies in storage for both NPPs including at least a year’s fuel for Dukovany.

In 2022 contracts were signed with Westinghouse and Framatome for the VVER-1000 units at Temelin. In 2022 CEZ also decided to increase its fuel reserves stored at the NPPs to improve energy security. Bohdan Zronek, Director of the Nuclear Energy Division for CEZ, said in February that the company was currently completing the expansion of storage space at Dukovany, with the aim of keeping at least three years' supply.

Image courtesy of ČEZ