Temelin nuclear power plantWestinghouse Electric and the Czech power company ČEZ have signed a landmark nine-year project agreement to upgrade the instrumentation and control (I&C) systems at the Temelin NPP. 

“We will replace an integrated complex set of several fully redundant I&C systems that have been operating reliably at Temelin NPP since their original installation in 2000,” said Bohdan Zronek, member of the ČEZ Management Board and Director of the Nuclear Power Division.

“This upgrade is a carefully planned step-by-step process of gradual renewal of the existing I&C equipment. This improvement will enable us to reach our long-term operation goals.” Tarik Choho, Westinghouse President, EMEA Operating Plant Services said: “This agreement requires a seamless approach during this complex system upgrade.”  

The project is the culmination of over a decade of technical cooperation between ČEZ and Westinghouse and will be the largest commercial agreement signed for I&C since the equipment was installed originally. ČEZ and Westinghouse’s strategic cooperation focuses on asset management for mission critical I&C systems and began when the first I&C service contract between the two companies was signed in 2006. 

In terms of technical complexity, it will be one of the most demanding projects in the history of the Czech Republic, worth billions of crowns. The project must not disrupt the operation of the plant. Selected control and management systems will be partially renewed and upgraded by Westinghouse as their original supplier. 

In 1993, the Government decided to complete two of the four Temelín generating units that were under construction and to replace the original system with Westinghouse's then state-of-the-art digital control and management system.  Since the first unit was commissioned, it has operated with only routine modifications and updates. A part of the system will now undergo its first major upgrade.

“Although this is an upgrade of systems, negotiations with the existing supplier took more than a year. Our first priority is of course to ensure safety, but we also insist that the work should not affect the operation of Temelín itself. All this had to be carefully prepared and formulated in the contract,” said  Board Chairman and CEO Daniel Beneš. In practice, experts will replace some systems and some of the fixed equipment, including the buses and control elements involved. Most of these are not only physically separated from each other, but also from all external networks.

“In fact, it is a complex of several independently backed-up systems that have been operating reliably at Temelín since 2000.  This upgrade is not a solution to a sudden need, but a carefully prepared step in the gradual renewal of the equipment with a view to the planned sixty-year and possibly even longer operation. This is why the entire project is spread out until 2029,” Zronek explained.  

“This agreement requires full cooperation at all levels during the complete renewal of the affected parts of the control system,” said Tarik Choho, President of Westinghouse Europe, Middle East and Africa.  ČEZ has been preparing the control and management system upgrade project for three years, during which specialists specified the needs and, above all, the schedule of work. The physical work itself will start together with Westighouse this year, but some of the activities will only be possible during the planned major outages for fuel replacement. The next one is due in April 2022.