Holtec International has concluded a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Czech Republic’s Škoda Praha and South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Construction (HDEC) to advance the planning for construction of SMR-160s in the Czech Republic. The SMR-160 is a small modular pressurised light-water reactor, generating 160MWe (525MWt) using low-enriched uranium fuel, with flexibility to produce process heat for industrial applications and hydrogen production.
Under the Agreement, the parties will develop the division of responsibilities for procurement, construction, and commissioning of SMR-160 plants in accordance with Czech Codes and Standards and inclusion of Czech content in the delivery of the projects. The parties will also develop a cost estimate for deployment of the SMR-160 standard design.
This came after a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) signed between Holtec and the Czech power company CEZ in September. Holtec has been working with CEZ since 2019, supporting their technical and commercial evaluation of SMR-160 for deployment in Czech Republic and a feasibility study performed under an MOU and technical exchange with ÚJV Rež. The MOU with CEZ enables continued exchange between the parties for evaluation of SMR-160 deployment at Temelin, where CEZ plans to deploy a pilot small modular reactor (SMR) as early as 2032. CEZ is also evaluating future deployment of SMRs to replace several coal power plants planned for shutdown in the late-2030’s. Deployment nuclear power at these sites is seen as important to ensure stability of the Czech electricity grid.
On a wider front, Holtec has been engaged in a formal technical exchange on the SMR-160 with the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade looking at broader applications for SMRs, such as district heating and industrial processes. Holtec has been engaged with electricity intensive consumers in the industrial and transportation sectors in the Czech Republic as future end-users power and heat produced by SMR-160. Holtec’s European Programme Manager Rafael Marin noted, “SMR-160 modules are an ideal fit in terms of thermal and electrical power production for district heating and industrial applications. We can build as many SMR-160 modules as needed to meet the demands of the site, including traditional grid-scale electricity applications with 4-8 units deployed at a single location. In addition, SMR-160 is based on pressurised water reactor (PWR) technology and uses same fuel assembly type and enrichment levels that are in operation in PWRs plants currently, making SMR-160 licensing friendly.”
Holtec and Korea’s HDEC signed an agreement last November for completion of the standard design of the SMR-160 plant and delivery of SMR-160 projects worldwide. HDEC has constructed 18 nuclear plants in South Korea as well as four APR-1400 units in the United Arab Emirates. HDEC has an annual revenue of over $16 billion. Škoda Praha is a Czech EPC contractor for power plants on turnkey basis. It has worked at the Czech Temelin and Dukovany NPPs as well as at the Bohunice V2 NPP in Slovakia.
Holtec’s Senior Vice President of International Projects, Dr. Rick Springman, commented, “The importance of this Agreement should not be understated – it is the starting point for planning project execution of SMR-160s within the Czech and broader European context, supported by three companies with a reputation of delivering real projects in the nuclear sector. Holtec has over 36 years of experience delivering nuclear equipment, HDEC brings 50 years of continuous nuclear power plant construction experience, and Škoda Praha brings experience executing EPC projects with understanding of the European labour and services market, along with specific knowledge of the Temelin site – I am not aware of any other SMR companies’ teams that can match this project delivery capability.”
Holtec senior representatives have also noted that building a replica of Holtec’s planned US SMR Gigafactory in Czech Republic is on the table, depending on the size of commitment for SMR-160 orders in the Czech Republic and competing offers from other European countries that have expressed interest in hosting a Holtec SMR Gigafactory.
Image: Artist's impression of an SMR-160 power plant (courtesy of Holtec)