Nuclear reactor, power plant, energy – illustrative photo.
Řež (near Prague) – ÚJV Řež is preparing a project for a small modular reactor CR-100. The costs of obtaining the necessary documents for construction will reach around 2.5 billion crowns, which should be provided by the state. The preparation will take around ten years. The power of the reactor should be 100 thermal megawatts. The reactor would primarily serve as a heat source. The director of the nuclear safety section at the Řež Research Center, David Harut, told journalists at today's meeting.
Small modular reactors or Small modular reactors (SMR) have a maximum output of up to 300 MWe. Compared to large nuclear units, in addition to their lower performance, they also have a significantly smaller built-up area and the risk of a severe accident with fuel damage is practically eliminated. Modules can be mass-produced in a factory, and their installation on site is faster, simpler and cheaper than other reactors.
Energy company ČEZ announced last week that the first domestic SMR will be located in Temelín in 2032. Other locations are also being considered, most of them now have coal-fired power plants. The ÚJV group is now working on three of its own SMR prototypes.
The CR-100 is a pressurized water reactor that represents the conversion of already known technology into a smaller and simplified format that meets Czech legal standards. A very high passive safety will enable the location of the reactor with a zero outer emergency planning zone. “We will be able to place this reactor closer to cities,” said Harut. It is also a suitable source for the production of so-called pink hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced by electrolysis using nuclear energy.
Since 2017, the Energy Well project has been the first of three types of prototypes created at the ÚJV Řež. It is a proposal for a small high-temperature reactor with an output of around 20 megawatts. It could supply energy at a regional level, for example to large enterprises, critical infrastructure and will also be able to provide heat supplies for households. The second reactor prototype, called HeFasto (Helium Cooled Fast Reactor) with a thermal output of 200 megawatts, was presented by the group in 2021. It is a gas-cooled reactor with a thermal output of 200 megawatts. Its commercial deployment is expected after 2040, when the demand for mass production of hydrogen is expected to grow and the need to process accumulated fuel from light water reactors will also grow.
SMRs are not an alternative to large blocks, they are a supplement to the energy mix. “We will need the big ones in any case,” Silvana Jirotková from ČEZ's New Energy Division said today during a presentation at ÚJV Řež. Detmarovice and Dukovany. These are places where there are now coal or other power plants. According to the government's program statement, the production of electricity from coal should end in 2033. Coal-fired power plants can replace SMR.
ČEZ is the majority shareholder of the ÚJV group. The state owns the majority of CEZ shares.