27. 2. 2023

After preliminary assessment ČEZ has identified two preferred construction sites for small modular reactors, in addition to the Temelín pilot location, in Dětmarovice and Tušimice

ČEZ has tentatively identified two preferred sites for the second and third small modular reactors (SMRs). After the first SMR project at the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant site, SMRs could also be built in Dětmarovice and Tušimice. That is on the sites of current coal-fired power plants, which are being transformed into emission-free sites. As part of Vision 2030, ČEZ Group has committed itself to preparing the construction of small modular reactors with a total capacity of over 1,000 MW after 2040. However, small modular reactors could have been built at these sites as early as the second half of the 1930s. The main purpose of the SMR construction is to ensure a long-term secure supply of stable emission-free energy.

In addition to the first three small modular reactor construction sites, ČEZ Group is also exploring other locations where additional modular reactors could be located. The analyses cover, for example, the Prunéřov, Ledvice, Poříčí, Mělník and Dukovany power plant areas, i.e., with the exception of Dukovany, current coal sites. However, the analysis has already recommended that the SMR project at the Poříčí power plant location should not be further developed due to the almost certain presence of an active fault near the site, which precludes the placement of nuclear technology.

"Small modular reactors are not a substitute for large nuclear units, but a complement to the energy mix of the Czech Republic as a suitable replacement for coal-fired power plants and large thermal power plants. The SMR construction program represents a great opportunity for the Czech economy – it offers production of nuclear equipment, substantial involvement in the supply chain, and the creation of a regional service and training center. In order to take advantage of the opportunities of the SMR program, action must be taken quickly. We expect that new nuclear sources, including small modular reactors, will also be significantly represented in the upcoming update of the State Energy Concept, which in the long term builds the Czech energy mix on a combination of nuclear and renewable sources," stated Tomáš Pleskač, Member of the Board of Directors and ČEZ Chief Renewables Officer.

The Dětmarovice and Tušimice power plant sites will undergo a number of further intensive exploration and monitoring works before it is finally clear whether they are suitable locations for a nuclear power source. The exploration work, which began in the first half of February, is primarily focused on excluding the existence of active tectonic faults, assessing the hydrogeology of the area and analyzing the bedrock. This phase of work will be completed in the autumn of this year. It will then be followed by others. The transformation of a non-nuclear site into a nuclear site requires a series of exploration activities lasting 3-5 years before the permit process can begin.

The first small modular reactor will be built near the Temelín nuclear power plant in South Bohemia. It should be built before the new large Czech nuclear unit is launched, which is planned before 2040. ČEZ closely cooperates with the South Bohemian region and its subsidiary ÚJV Řež in its preparation. For this purpose, the South Bohemia Nuclear Park was established, which covers research, development and preparation of the construction itself. However, the investor of the small modular reactor has not yet been decided. What is clear is where it should be built. The area is part of the wider Temelín Nuclear Power Plant site. It is a highly suitable and proven site, as documented by the recently completed special seismic mission.

ČEZ Group has already signed a memoranda of cooperation in the field of small modular reactors with NuScale, GE Hitachi, Rolls Royce, EdF, Westinghouse, KHNP and Holtec. ČEZ Group is ready to participate in the scientific research activities and development of small modular reactors for the above mentioned companies through its ÚJV Řež subsidiary. 

Modular reactors can be produced in series, whereas it is possible to concentrate more of them in single blocks. In their preparation, it makes sense to concentrate them on the sites of current coal-fired power plants that are due to be shut down in the near future. The SMRs will also be able to provide central heat supply, which is now being provided by the coal-fired power plants that are currently closing in these regions.