US, French companies to supply fuel to Czech nuclear plant

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic has signed deals with Westinghouse Electric Co. and France’s Framatome to deliver fuel supplies for a nuclear power plant, reducing the country’s dependence on Russia.

The Czech state-controlled power company CEZ said on Tuesday that Pennsylvania-based Westinghouse and Framatome will contribute to the country’s energy security by supplying the Temelin nuclear fuel for more than 10 years, starting in 2024. The deal is worth several billion Czech crowns (hundreds of millions of dollars), it said.

The plant’s current supplier is Russia’s TVEL, part of Russian energy giant Rosatom. CEZ said it has fuel enough for the plant for about two years.

“Our goal was to diversify the number of suppliers in order to minimise the risk of possible supply failures for any reason,” Ladislav Stepanek, director at CEZ’s fuel cycle department said.

CEZ operates two 1,000-megawatt reactors at the Temelin plant. Westinghouse had provided fuel supplies to Temelin for 10 years until 2010.

The Czech Republic relies on six nuclear reactors to generate more than a third of its total electricity. Besides the two in Temelin, CEZ operates another four 510-megawatt units at the Dukovany power plant.

Dukovany has been also using nuclear fuel from TVEL.

Unlike its western neighbors Austria and Germany, the Czech Republic is doubling down on nuclear power. CEZ has launched a tender this year to build a new reactor at the Dukovany plant as the country aims to increase nuclear power generation.

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