World-leading provider of advanced reactors and nuclear services GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) signed a memorandum of understanding with Czech utility company ČEZ, aiming to examine the economic and technical feasibility of potentially constructing a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) in the Czech Republic.
“As a company, we are focused on developing new energy solutions and technologies,” said Daniel Beneš, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of ČEZ. “We are already engaged with the development of Small Modular Reactors, especially in our daughter company ÚJV Řež. The SMRs can be a significant alternative in the future that we cannot ignore. The collaboration with GE Hitachi is, therefore, a logical step for us.”
ČEZ operates two nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic which generate approximately one-third of the country’s electricity. The Czech government plans to substitute ageing coal plants with new nuclear plants and renewables sources.
“Our aim is to set trends, not only to follow them,” commented Karel Havlíček, Czech vice-premier and minister of Industry. “The Czech government gives tops priority to innovations and Small Modular Reactors can be the future of nuclear energy.”
According to Mr Havlíček, Czech nuclear energy research has traditionally been one of the best in the world, the reason why, early in February, he confirmed that a concrete plan to build a new unit at the Dukovany nuclear plant is going to be announced soon, with a contractor to be selected by the end of 2022, and a building permit to be issued by 2029.