Country profile: Czech Republic

Summary figures for 2015

The following information is from the NEA publication Nuclear Energy Data, the annual compilation of official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy in OECD member countries.

Country
Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2015
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
Czech Republic
6
25.3
 
30.2
 
OECD Europe
131
805.0
22.9
 
OECD Total
317
1 878.7
18.4
 
NEA Total
352
2 073.9
18.7
 

Country report

Nuclear policy

In May 2015, an update of the state energy policy was approved by the Czech government. This document formulates a political, legislative and administrative framework for reliable and reasonably priced supplies of energy that are sustainable in the long term. In addition to the highlighted areas, such as energy infrastructure, science, research and education, it proposes a wider diversification of resources and stresses the importance of maintaining the existing full independence in the field of heat and electricity supply. It has been concluded that this can be achieved in the future only by furthering the development of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic. This is elaborated in more detail in the National Action Plan for the Development of the Nuclear Energy Sector in the Czech Republic (NAP), which was approved by the government in June 2015.

In accordance with the NAP (available online in English at www.mpo.cz/zprava166686.html), nuclear energy will amount to approximately 50% of total production of electricity by 2040. This will be achieved by the long-term operation of the existing Dukovany NPP (at least 50 years; until 2035-2037), construction of new nuclear units up to 2 500 MW (20 TWh) until 2035 and additional new units replacing the current ones after 2035. Even though both Dukovany and Temelin sites should continue to be used for electricity generation, the priority was to build the first new unit at the Dukovany site to ensure continuous operation there.

The Czech utility ČEZ, a.s. is working on the further development of both sites, with potential construction of one to two new units at each site. The work consists of feasibility studies, geology and seismic research, environmental impact assessments and preparation of tender documentation. Since all alternatives on investment and delivery models are under consideration at the moment, new subsidiary companies with responsibility for new builds were established in December 2015.

Additionally, a new Atomic Act was elaborated and proposed for approval by the parliament of the Czech Republic. The first hearing took place in the Chamber of Deputies in December 2015. This first general revision of the 18-year-old Atomic Act is scheduled to come into force together with a set of new implementing decrees on 1 January 2017.

Nuclear power

Regarding the operation of current nuclear units, both the Dukovany NPP and the Temelin NPP experienced some unexpected outages during the year 2015 and consequently did not reach their planned electricity generation objectives. These outages were unrelated to nuclear or radiochemical merits as the causes were technical or preventive. Issues with the weld inspection occurred almost at the same time as the application for an additional ten years of operation for Dukovany unit 1 (submitted in September 2015), and these issues influenced the operation of more units. As a result, three Dukovany units were out of operation for more than three months, during which additional inspections and –  in some cases – rewelding took place.

Analogous applications to operate for ten additional years will be submitted for Dukovany unit 2 in 2016 and for Dukovany units 3 and 4 in 2017 (all the units were commissioned in 1985-1987). Nevertheless, as mentioned above, ČEZ, a.s. will strive for operation beyond this 40-year period to reach at least 50 years of lifetime and to realise gradual transition from current to new units at this site (as reflected in the tables of this publication).

Notwithstanding the unplanned outages, all Dukovany units operated safely at an uprated level of 510 MWe gross each (1 444 MWth) in five-year fuel cycles, with a step-by-step transition from the previous fuel type to the upgraded one (working fuel assembly uranium loading increased from 126.3 kgU to 135.5 kgU, having the same enrichment of 4.38%). Unit 4 was in operation without any fresh fuel loading for the whole calendar year (i.e. decreased uranium, conversion and enrichment requirements for 2015).

At the Temelin NPP, the installed capacity of unit 1 was uprated to 1 080 MWe gross, whereas unit 2 was operated at 1 078 MWe, in both cases because of the new turbines (and an increase of core power to 3 120 MWth in 2013). This resulted in record value for the whole power plant reached in September 2015, which could be compared with the design output of 981 MWe gross per unit. The ongoing project of improved fuel with a higher content of uranium in the fuel assembly (increase from 465 kgU to 502 kgU) and increased lateral stiffness was progressing well with a loading of modified fuel scheduled for 2018. ČEZ, a.s. decided to gradually build up, in the 2015-2016 period, a strategic inventory of fabricated fuel at the site in order to reduce the risk of disruption of operation in case of a delayed delivery of fresh fuel (i.e. fuel fabrication requirements increased during these years). The first spare reload was delivered in November 2015, and the second will follow in the year 2016.

Uranium mining

Czech domestic production of uranium in the form of chemical concentrates produced by the state enterprise DIAMO in 2015 was 150 tU. Future production will be affected by the forthcoming end of regular underground mining at the Rozna mine, which will be terminated by the end of 2016 following a government decision. As a result, only 80-90 t of uranium production is expected there. Some smaller amounts of uranium will be produced by the remediation of the Straz in situ leaching (ISL) mine and from mine water treatment at former facilities. The overall DIAMO production in 2016 is expected to be about 120 tU.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2016

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Last reviewed: 21 December 2016