June 23. 2024. 1:24

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Czechia replaces Russian nuclear fuel imports with US imports

The US company Westinghouse will supply both Czech nuclear plants with fuel, so the country can quit importing Russian nuclear fuel until the end of 2023.

The Czech nuclear plant in Dukovany has used fuel from the Russian company TVEL, which is part of the Russian state holding Rosatom since the plant began operation almost 40 years ago. However, after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, Czech energy company ČEZ which operates the nuclear plant decided to replace the supplier for safety reasons.

“Securing a Western supplier of fuel assemblies for Dukovany is a significant step not only for the Czech power industry but also for the entire Czech Republic. It is another significant strengthening of energy security,” said Daniel Beneš, the CEO of ČEZ Group.

Czechia is not the only nuclear country that wants to replace Russian nuclear fuels, which are not subject to EU sanctions.

Meanwhile, Slovakia’s largest electricity producer, Slovenské elektrárne (SE), is also selecting a new supplier of nuclear fuel.

“We clearly need to have enough fuel from safe sources, which is why we are trying to move away from the Russian source as quickly as possible,” Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said after his meeting with Czech counterpart Petr Fiala on Monday.

So far, there were rumours that there is no alternative to replace the Russian fuel for the Dukovany-type reactors. However, according to ČEZ, Westinghouse has recently accelerated its development and can now supply fuel to the plant. The fuel will be produced by Westinghouse’s plant in Sweden. It will use a similar fuel type to that developed for nuclear power plants in Ukraine. However, it will differ in some technical details.

Westinghouse and the French company Framatome will also supply nuclear fuel to the Temelín plant from next year. It means that both Czech plants will get rid of the Russian fuel imports till the end of the year.

(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)