ČEZ set to test Westinghouse fuel at Temelín

05 April 2019

ČEZ will start loading test fuel assemblies supplied by Westinghouse Electric Sweden into unit 1 of its Temelín nuclear power plant this weekend as part of its plan announced in August last year to diversify its fuel supply.

Temelín (Image: ČEZ)

Temelín unit 1 was shut down on 1 March for a refuelling and maintenance outage and is scheduled to be reconnected to the grid on 30 April. Six fuel assemblies, out of the 163 to be loaded during the outage at the unit, will be from Westinghouse, with a view to evaluating their performance in combination with fuel supplied by TVEL.

"This doesn't mean switching to American fuel. It is just a test to verify the properties and to obtain the know-how on both sides before selecting the supplier for the next contract,” Bohdan Zronek, member of the board of directors at ČEZ and director of the utility’s Nuclear Power Division, said yesterday.

He added: “With the existing manufacturer, we have contracted the supply of a volume of fuel until 2023 and the contract allows us to opt for additional reloads if necessary.”

Although Westinghouse's fuel will account for only 3% of the total number of fuel assemblies in the reactor, stringent licensing procedures preceded its introduction to the unit, ČEZ said.

"Of course, safety is a top priority, which is why the licensing procedure took almost three years, and more than 70 technical reports, analyses and assessments have been created, which together comprise over 7000 pages," said Jan Kruml, Temelín NPP director.

The six fuel assemblies from Westinghouse Electric Sweden will work alongside those from TVEL, which has been supplying Temelín with fuel since 2010. Last year, the power plant introduced 48 upgraded TVEL fuel assemblies to unit 2 "to complement the original fuel type", ČEZ said.

One-third of the first unit’s fuel will be replaced during the outage. An outage at unit 2 is planned for the second half of June. Since the beginning of the year, Temelín has produced 3.97 TWh of electricity, ČEZ said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News