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Czech power utility CEZ Group's Elektrárna Dukovany II (EDU II), a wholly owned subsidiary has received three final bids for the construction of a new unit at the Dukovany NPP. US-based Westinghouse, France’s EDF and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) submitted binding bids for Dukovany 5 and non-binding bids for the other three units. Westinghouse is proposing its AP1000, KHNP its APR1000 based in the APR1400 and EDF its EPR1200 (a smaller version of its standard EPR). These are all pressurised water reactors. Russia and China were excluded from the bidding in 2021.

Four VVER-440 units are currently in operation at the Dukovany site, which began operating between 1985 and 1987. Two VVER-1000 units are in operation at Temelín, which began operation in 2000 and 2002. The Dukovany units will be decommissioned no later than 2045-2047.

“We are happy to confirm the strong interest of all three bidders in constructing a new nuclear power plant in Czechia, said Tomáš Pleskac, Board member and Director of CEZ's New Energy Division. “We have seen careful preparation by all bidders since the tender was launched in March last year. Now we will evaluate the bids and, according to the contract with the state, we will submit the evaluation report to the Ministry of Industry & Trade and then to the Czech government for final approval.”

The bids were submitted electronically using special encryption and a uniquely secure storage. It is expected that the contracts will be finalized within the next year. After the final signing of the contracts, the project documentation will be prepared so that the new unit will be ready for trial operation in 2036, CEZ said. The new Dukovany unit will be built next to the existing power plant and will replace part of its capacity in the future.

Since the Ministry of the Environment issued a positive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) opinion in 2019, EDU II has received a Siting Permit from the State Office for Nuclear Safety and a Generating Plant Authorisation from the Ministry of Industry & Trade in 2021. A zoning decision for the new units has also recently been issued by the Ministry of Industry & Trade.

The bid submitted by Westinghouse Electric Company, along with construction partner Bechtel, is for one AP1000 unit with the potential for a second unit at Dukovany and two additional units at the Temelin site.

Westinghouse says the AP1000 is “the only operating Generation III+ reactor with fully passive safety systems, modular construction design and the smallest footprint per MWe on the market”. Furthermore, “the Westinghouse/Bechtel strategy of utilizing the local supply chain will increase opportunities for Czech businesses to participate in the new nuclear project”.

US Ambassador to the Czech Republic Bijan Sabet confirmed the US. government’s full support for the Westinghouse/Bechtel bid.

“We see mutual benefits to both the United States and the Czech Republic,” he said. “Westinghouse first partnered with the Czech Republic on nuclear energy three decades ago,” said David Durham, Energy Systems President, Westinghouse. “Together we can lay the foundation for a clean, secure energy future that extends for the next 80 years of operation, and beyond.”

Currently, the AP1000 is not licensed or operating anywhere in Europe. In the USA two AP1000 reactors are under construction at the Vogle NPP in Georgia but are significantly delayed and over budget. Two Westinghouse AP1000 units are in operation at China’s Sanmen and Haiyang NPPs, and two CAP1000 units, the Chinese version of the AP1000, are being built as the second phase of each station. The proposed construction of four CAP1000 reactors (units 1-4) at China’s Lufeng NPP was approved by the National Development & Reform Commission but has not yet received State Council approval. Three AP1000 units have recently been selected in Poland and nine others are planned in Ukraine. Bulgaria has also selected the AP1000 fir its Kozloduy NPP.

EDF’s bid is for one EPR1200 reactor at Dukovany and up to four units in the Czech Republic.

The bid includes supplying engineering, procurement, construction and support to commissioning activities for one EPR1200 reactors at Dukovany (unit 5) including design and implementation activities for nuclear fuel and delivery of fuel assemblies for the project. EDF also proposes support the development of a fleet of reactors in the Czech Republic, based on one additional unit at the Dukovany site (unit 6) and two additional units at the Temelín site (units 3&4).

EDF says it will make use of the know-how and industrial prowess of its subsidiary Framatome to supply the engineering studies and equipment for the nuclear steam supply system and, instrumentation and control. Its historical and trusted partner GE Steam Power will supply engineering studies and equipment for the conventional island, which is to be equipped with the French Arabelle 1000 steam turbine. Bouygues Travaux Publics will supply nuclear new build civil works activities. EDF will identify Czech companies that could be selected as suppliers for the project. It says that, to date, nearly 300 Czech companies have been identified and approximately 90 have begun EDF’s prequalification process. EDF also offers training.

EDF Chairman & CEO Luc Rémont noted: “As the only vendor and builder of third generation nuclear technology in Europe, we believe that the long-term strategic partnership we are proposing will set a precedent for our continent and serve as the backbone for a more resilient and independent European nuclear industry. By joining the European EPR community, the Czech Republic will benefit from a massive fleet effect and create many industrial synergies between our current and future nuclear programmes in France, the UK and beyond.”

South Korea's KHNP is proposing its III+ generation APR1000 which was developed based on its operating OPR1000 reactors but also incorporating safety features of the APR1400, which are in operation in the UAE as well as South Korea.

The European version, the EU-APR, received European Utility Requirements (EUR) certification in 2017. The APR1000 received EUR certification in March. KHNP says it will partner with Korea Electric Power Corp Engineering & Construction (KEPCO E&C), KEPCO Plant Service & Engineering (KEPCO KPS), KEPCO Nuclear Fuel (KEPCO NF), Doosan Enerbility and Daewoo Engineering & Construction.

Image: The Dukovany nuclear power plant (courtesy of CEZ)

Date: Friday, 03 November 2023
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