According to ČEZ, the new fuel deliveries will begin in 2024 to fully replace the current fuel supplier, which is Russia’s Tvel.
There are two Russia-designed VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor units in commercial operation at the southern Temelín site. Since 2019 Westinghouse-made lead fuel assemblies have been in operation in the reactor core of Unit 1.
The US company said the term of fuel deliveries under the new contract is “anticipated” to be 15 years. No value for the contract has been disclosed, but ČEZ said it will be worth “billions of crowns” (meaning tens of millions of euros).
Westinghouse said it will supply modified Robust Westinghouse Fuel Assemblies (RWFA), a new design that is compatible with non-Westinghouse fuel during the plant’s supplier transition.
The RWFA is designed to increase fuel economy and has demonstrated its performance and reliability when used in Ukraine’s fleet of VVER-1000 reactor units, Westinghouse said.
Bohdan Zronek, director of the nuclear energy division at ČEZ, said the Czech company’s goal is to minimise fuel supply risks, while Westinghouse’s president for fuel Tarik Choho said his company is also looking forward to providing fuel for the Dukovany VVER-440 PWR units in the near future.
Earlier in June, Westinghouse signed an agreement with Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear operator Energoatom for the supply of nuclear fuel for the country’s entire reactor fleet.
Under earlier contracts, Westinghouse had already supplied fuel for VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor (PWR) designs for six of Ukraine’s 15 commercial nuclear units.
In April, ČEZ said it has chosen Framatome and Westinghouse as nuclear fuel suppliers for Temelín for the next 15 years in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Tvel, a subsidiary Russia’s state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom, had been supplying fuel for Temelín since 2010, when it replaced Westinghouse.
ČEZ said it currently has stored fuel assemblies for approximately two years of operation at Temelín, while the volume of the stock at Dukovany is even higher.