Investment in Dukovany will include the renovation and upgrading of both production and non-production equipment.
“The investments are aimed at ensuring the safe operation of Dukovany for at least 60 years, even at the cost of more work this year,” Bohdan Zronek, director of ČEZ’s nuclear power division said.
The four plants began commercial operation from May 1985 and July 1987 and could potentially operate until around 2045.
The increased work this year will also mean longer outages. Dukovany NPP Director Roman Havlin said the most time-consuming and technically demanding project is cleaning the station’s 24 steam generators.
Switching To 16-Month Refuelling Schedules
The four units will also gradually be switched from 12-month fuel campaigns to 16-months, significantly increasing the efficiency of both operation and maintenance, ČEZ said.
The longer fuel campaigns will use new PK3+ fuel supplied by Russia’s state nuclear fuel company Tvel. The fuel was delivered to the Dukovany site last year and ČEZ has applied to the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SÚJB) for a licence to use it.
Dukovany has been using Tvel’s fuel for 40 years and has fuel reserves for at least three years. However, under pressure from the EU and the US, and especially in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Czech Republic is looking to diversify its fuel suppliers.
From 2024 US-based Westinghouse and France’s Framatome will supply fuel for the two-unit Temelín nuclear station, which has two VVER V-320 plants.
However, only Tvel supplies fuel for the VVER V-213 reactor types at Dukovany, although Westinghouse is in the process of developing such fuel.
Dukovany and Temelín, which have six units between them, produce over 30 TWh of electricity a year, providing more than 37% of the country’s generation.
In March 2022, ČEZ launched a tender process to choose a supplier for a new nuclear power unit at Dukovany.
Construction of the new unit should begin in 2029 and be completed by 2036. Industry minister Jozef Síkela said it would be the biggest investment in the modern history of the Czech Republic. The project could cost around €6bn.
The Dukovany nuclear power station in the Czech Republic.Courtesy ČEZ.