Czech utility ČEZ says it will invest more than CZK2.3 billion (USD105 million) at the Dukovany nuclear power plant, mainly aimed at ensuring “safe and reliable operation until at least 2047”. All four units are also switching to 16-month fuel cycles.
The amount being spent in the coming year is about CZK0.5 billion more than the previous year.
Bohdan Zronek, a member of the ČEZ board of directors and director of the nuclear energy division, said that given the importance of nuclear energy as an emission-free resource “the investments are aimed at ensuring the safe operation of Dukovany for at least 60 years, even at the cost of a larger volume of work this year.”
The fuel cycles will be extended by four months from the existing 12-months, which will increase efficiency in the years ahead with fewer fuel replacements required.
Plant director Roman Havlín said cleaning the steam generators would be the most demanding project, saying: “Last year, in conjunction with our colleagues from Framatome, we were the first in the world to develop and test a cleaning method, thanks to which we can remove mineral deposits inside the device and thus ensure the expected service life.”
A new administrative block is also being built, prompted by an increase in the number of workers at the plant – about 100 new employees are set to be hired this year, the company says.
The Czech Republic already uses nuclear power for 34% of its electricity, generating this from four reactors at Dukovany and two at Temelin. ČEZ is currently evaluating bids from Westinghouse, EDF and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power for the construction of a new reactor at Dukovany. Near Temelin, an area has been designated the South Bohemia Nuclear Park and earmarked for small reactors to operate in the early 2030s. The company said last month that, with the planned new build, it expected to almost double its nuclear workforce in the coming years.
Source: World Nuclear News