Both nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic are continuously upgraded
The two nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic repeatedly rank among the most reliable nuclear operations in the world. However, maintaining their safety and performance requires ongoing capital expenditures. This applies to all power plants anywhere in the world. Since the Dukovany and the Temelín nuclear power plants have been launched, ČEZ has invested nearly CZK 30 billion in upgrading these facilities. The capital invested has made hundreds of major and minor improvements possible.
"Continual upgrades of our power plants represent the only way that leads to a stable and safe operation of these facilities," says Jaroslav Jakub, Director of the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant. And the figures show he is right. Last year, the Dukovany and the Temelín NPPs generated a record high volume of over 30 TWh (terrawatthours) of electrical energy. This represents two fifths of the annual electricity consumption in the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, sustaining the top-notch performance and maximum safety of the power plants requires considerable investments upgrading the various equipment, work procedures and in developing human resources. Since the Dukovany and the Temelín power plants were launched, ČEZ has in total invested more than CZK 30 billion in their modifications and improvements. A greater portion of those funds, nearly CZK 21 billion, has been invested in upgrading the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant. 25 years ago, the construction and commissionining of the power plant in the then Czechoslovakia cost CSK 26 billion.
Safety - EDU upgrades are crucial for nuclear power plants. "Our goal is to ensure utmost operational safety and top performance at the same time," Director Jakub adds. By this he points out the fact that the funds invested in the upgrade projects bear their fruits. Apart from the record-high performance, the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant can boast with its ranking among the Top 20% of the best operated power plants in the world, based on the criteria of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). The Temelín Nuclear Power Plant enjoys a similar ranking. ČEZ has invested about CZK 9 billion in modifying and upgrading this facility.
In both cases, the upgrade efforts include hundreds of minor and major projects aimed at optimizing the performance and/or fulfilling requirements defined by nuclear sector regulators. For example, one such project was the exchange of linear stepper drives in the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant. This equipment, which actuates and positions regulation elements (clusters) and, thus, determines the reactor power output, is a crucial component of the safety and control system. In 2011 and 2012, a total of 122 drives were replaced at both units. The new ones have a service life of 40 years. In this case, the capital expenditures required reached nearly CZK 750 million. Tens of similar projects have been implemented at the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant, too.
Only such upgrades and capital projects make it possible for the Czech Republic to maintain a superb level of its nuclear energy sector. These activities are going to continue. The team in Dukovany aims at fulfilling MAAE's safety improvement recommendations and also at implementing measures required for the power plant to have its operation permit renewed even after 2015.
Ladislav Kříž, CEZ Spokesman
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