ČEZ says Westinghouse and Framatome deal boosts Czech energy security

28 June 2022

ČEZ said the contracts with the US and French companies for the supply of fuel assemblies for the Temelín nuclear power plant for the coming years were important for ensuring diversification of supplies.

Temelín 1 and 2 (Image: ČEZ)

The two companies should start deliveries to Temelín in 2024. The value of the contract was put "in the order of billions of crowns" (CZK1 billion = USD43 million) and will cover 15 years.

"Of course, we selected the best offers with regard to both safety and price. At the same time, however, our goal was to diversify the number of suppliers in order to minimise the risk of possible supply failures for any reason," said Ladislav Štěpánek, ČEZ Fuel Cycle Department's director.

Tarik Choho, president of Westinghouse Fuel, said: "We welcome the decision of ČEZ group to diversify its nuclear fuel supply and to select Westinghouse as a supplier of nuclear fuel for Temelín nuclear power plant. Westinghouse has developed and supplied for many years our own VVER fuel designs for both the VVER 1000 and the VVER 440 types of reactors. We are extremely happy that our successful experience in supplying VVER fuel is going to benefit ČEZ. We look forward to cooperating with ČEZ and building on our partnership providing fuel for Temelín and for Dukovany in the near future."

Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president of Framatome's Fuel Business Unit, said: "Framatome is pleased to have been chosen by ČEZ as supplier to contribute to Temelin plant's fuel security of supply. This is the result of a long term partnership between ČEZ and Framatome and demonstrates the confidence of ČEZ in the reliability of our fuel solution regarding their need and requirement to produce low carbon energy in Czech Republic."

Bohdan Zronek, director of ČEZ's Nuclear Power Division, said: "We decided to increase the stockpile volume at both nuclear power plants in 2016. Thanks to this, we have enough assemblies at Dukovany for approximately three years of operation of all the units. Of course, we continue to think about the diversification of suppliers.”

It was announced in April that the tender for the supply of fuel, launched in April 2020, had seen the two suppliers selected, a decision taken to ensure diversification and to minimise any risk of any possible supply outage.

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 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.

French-based company Framatome has more than 60 years of experience, designing, servicing and installing components, producing nuclear fuel and supplying instrumentation and control systems for nuclear power plants and is a supplier for more than 380 reactors worldwide.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News