“[…] Small and medium-sized reactors will be a great addition to the modern power system of the Czech Republic, both in terms of electricity and heat generation,” said Jozef Síkela, Minister of Industry and Trade. “Our vision is for SMRs to complement large nuclear units from the 2030s-40s onwards. In this way, we will capitalise on the unique know-how of our nuclear industry. The approved Roadmap will provide investors with certainty so that they can prepare sites and subsequently make investment decisions. This will give Czech companies the opportunity to participate in supply chains of Czech and foreign projects in the future, to look for partners abroad and to play an important role in the development of this promising field. This is an exceptional opportunity to succeed in a high value-added industry.”
The next five to ten years will be key in terms of SMRs’ marketability, with corresponding business opportunities. Abroad, work is underway on a number of designs, with their representatives having expressed interest in cooperating with Czech companies. Among those interested are RollsRoyce SMR and GE Hitachi, which, according to the latest information, are the most advanced in the development of a functional SMR. Joint development between Czech and foreign companies in the form of a joint venture is under consideration, too.
The Roadmap summarises the state of play regarding SMRs and presents the suggestions of a working group that met throughout 2022 and 2023 under the Ministry’s leadership. It sets out the framework for the possible application of SMR technology in the Czech Republic, outlines approaches to economic opportunities and provides information on Czech SMR designs and offers from foreign manufacturers. It also suggests suitable sites, details investor models and necessary legislative changes.
The government resolution now assigns tasks with the aim of creating a suitable investor environment, based on the so-called taxonomy. The Roadmap recommends speeding up the process of site selection and preparation in order to start construction in the first half of the 2030s. In addition to the existing nuclear sites, promising locations include current coal-fired power plants, for example, Dětmarovice and Tisová.
“Due to their size and power output, these reactors can be a suitable replacement for coal-fired power plants which are being phased out,” added Deputy Minister Petr Třešňák. “Apart from current nuclear sites, which were primarily intended for the construction of classic nuclear reactors, SMRs can be sited in other locations. These need to be identified and prepared in time. That, too, is what the Roadmap is exploring.”
“The first implemented SMR projects and operation experience will give us an idea of their economy and actual preparation and construction times involved,” stated Deputy Senior Director of the Energy and Nuclear Resources Section Tomáš Ehler. “The aim of the Roadmap and its implementation is to give us a headstart in using the technology in and in supporting the export potential of Czech companies. As with other zero-carbon and large-scale power plants, investment in SMRs will require some form of State aid. At the same time, the Czech government advocates for a level playing field for nuclear energy development at the European level, particularly in the area of EU policies and programs, financing and market design.”