“We are building on the updated State Energy Policy, which includes a requirement for increased nuclear fuel reserves. By doing this, we are basically enhancing the Czech Republic’s energy security,”says Bohdan Zronek, Director of the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant owned by CEZ Group.
Temelín orders eighty fuel assemblies every year. Now it will keep the same quantity as a permanent reserve. It will thus have enough fuel for two years of operation. All the fuel will be kept in an existing fresh fuel storage facility on the power plant’s site. Its current capacity is sufficient; the premises do not require any modification. ČEZ also wants to have fuel reserves for up to three years in Dukovany, where it means eight refueling charges. The investment in reserves at both power plants will be in the single-digit billions of CZK.
Moreover, ČEZ wants to have two suppliers available for Temelín. It made a fuel-testing agreement with Westinghouse in February. If the U.S. producer gets the necessary licenses, it should ship six fuel assemblies in 2018. “The contract with Westinghouse is not the selection of a fuel supplier but an agreement to develop and subsequently test several fuel assemblies. We want to have two properly licensed suppliers, which is interesting for us in terms of both security and business,” adds the director of Temelín.
Temelín is also getting ready for an outage. The Southern Bohemian power plant received 62 fuel assemblies in April. Half of them will be loaded into the reactor in late June/early July during an outage of Unit Two. The remaining fuel is for Unit One, which will be shut down on August 5. Special security precautions are taken for fuel transportation; for example, the dates and specific routes of transportation were confidential.
One reactor at Temelín contains 163 fuel assemblies. Each fuel assembly is over 4.5 m long and weighs approx. 750 kg. There is approx. 86 tons of fuel in each reactor. The fuel usually remains in the core for four years. Thus, a quarter of fuel is replaced every year.