Framatome and Westinghouse to supply fuel to Temelín

13 April 2022

Westinghouse of the USA and Framatome of France have been awarded a long-term contract by Czech utility ČEZ for the supply of nuclear fuel assemblies to the Temelín nuclear power plant.

Temelín units 1 and 2 - both VVER-1000 reactors - have been in operation since 2000 and 2003, respectively (Image: ČEZ)

ČEZ said three bidders - Framatome, Westinghouse and Russia's TVEL - participated in the tender, which was launched in April 2020.

"Due to diversification, two suppliers were finally selected so that ČEZ Group could reliably ensure a continuous supply of fuel assemblies for the Temelín nuclear power plant's reactors in the future, thus minimising the risks of a possible supply outage," the company said.

Under the contract, which ČEZ said is worth "billions of crowns", deliveries of fuel will start in 2024 and continue for approximately 15 years.

It added: "Westinghouse, with a manufacturing plant in Sweden, has already supplied fuel assemblies to Temelín for ten years since its commissioning. Framatome is the only manufacturer based in the European Union that supplies fuel assemblies to most Western European nuclear power plants."

ČEZ selected Westinghouse in February 2016 to supply six Lead Test Assemblies (LTA) for the Temelín plant. At that time, Westinghouse's then Senior Vice President, Nuclear Fuel and Components Manufacturing José Emeterio Gutiérrez said, "The decision by ČEZ to launch an LTA programme for its Temelín nuclear power station is significant. It demonstrates that ČEZ is serious about taking measures to improve its security of supply through a diversification of its nuclear fuel sources."

In August 2018, ČEZ announced plans to test six Westinghouse fuel rods in unit 1 of the Temelín plant. Russia's TVEL had until then been the sole supplier of nuclear fuel to Temelín and to the Czech Republic's other nuclear power plant, Dukovany.

Temelín has a unique fuel design operating currently and therefore careful testing with limited fuel introduction over a period of two years was required to ensure safe compatibility with existing fuel. Westinghouse has developed a modified Robust Westinghouse Fuel Assembly design for use at Temelín. The new design includes fewer spacer grids for the assembly to be compatible with non-Westinghouse fuel, and material upgrades to further improve fuel economy and performance.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News