William Malcolm

CEZ, Rolls-Royce To Build Small Modular Reactors

The energy company ČEZ and the British Rolls-Royce will cooperate in developing small modular reactors after signing a Memorandum of Understanding. The companies will share technical knowledge and assess in detail the possibility of using SMRs in the Czech Republic.

“We have been focusing on new solutions and technologies for a long time. We are already dealing with small modular reactors, especially at ÚJV Řež,” CEO of ČEZ Daniel Beneš said.

Last spring, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš described smaller nuclear power sources as the optimal solution for constructing new nuclear power units in the Czech Republic. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček stated at the beginning of February this year that small modular reactors can be a solution for emission-free and, at the same time, stable production of electricity and heat. However, experts point out that these devices are still being developed worldwide, and practical experience with their operation is almost lacking.

CEZ has previously stated that small modular reactors (SMR) could complement the planned sizeable nuclear unit to be built in Dukovany in the future. “Although we are working intensively on the new nuclear unit in Dukovany, we are involved in these projects with regard to the further development of nuclear energy, whose position in our company’s energy mix will continue to grow,” Bohdan Zronek, CEZ’s member of the board and director of the nuclear energy division, said today.

ČEZ approached a total of 11 companies with a request to share detailed technical information on the possible construction of small nuclear power units (SMRs) in the Czech Republic. In addition to American companies and British companies, there were also companies from China, Russia, France, South Korea, and Argentina.

Today, the energy company stated that these reactors’ advantage is their expected serial production and assembly directly in production plants. At the same time, it is possible to concentrate a larger number of modules in one location. According to ČEZ, these devices’ output is in the tens, at most lower hundreds of megawatts (MW). For the new large unit in Dukovany, the government expects 1,200 MW.

The UK SMR concept from Rolls-Royce is a standard small pressurized water reactor with a planned operating time of 60 years and an installed capacity of 440 MW. The construction period of the entire facility should not exceed five years. The British company stated that it is preparing the project directly with regard to potential partners who could participate in the supply of up to 80 percent of the technology.

“The affordability and speed with which we can assemble the entire power plant will undoubtedly make it a very attractive choice for ČEZ,” said Tom Samson, in charge of managing the British SMR consortium, today.