The Czech state-controlled energy giant ČEZ is set to develop small modular nuclear reactors in cooperation with the U.S. firm NuScale Power. On Thursday, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding.
NuScale and ČEZ will exchange information relating to nuclear supply chain development, construction and operation and maintenance.
Earlier this year, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that small scale nuclear power sources are the optimum solution for the country when it comes to constructing new nuclear power plants.
NuScale is an industry leader in the development of these energy sources and is set to launch its first commercial reactor in the US state of Idaho in 2027.
The agreement comes as ČEZ continues a broad-based evaluation of potential nuclear energy solutions, including the construction of small modular reactors and refurbishments to existing nuclear facilities.
“We have a long-term orientation on new solutions and technologies. Our technical-engineering company UJV Řež is already researching small modular reactors, which represent an important future alternative that cannot be ignored. This partnership with NuScale is a next logical step in our efforts,” says Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO Daniel Beneš.
Nuclear power currently generates roughly one third of all electricity in the Czech Republic. ČEZ, which is one of the largest utility companies in Europe, currently operates two nuclear power plants in the country, Temelín and Dukovany.
Small modular reactors are significantly smaller than conventional reactors. Their main advantage is that they can be manufactured at a plant and brought to a site to be assembled, which allows for less on-site construction and heightened nuclear materials security.
“Our aim is to set trends, not only to follow them. The Czech government gives top priority to innovations and small modular reactors can be the future of nuclear energy. I am glad ČEZ has intensive research in this field,” Minister of Industry of the Czech Republic Karel Havlíček said on the occasion of the signing of the memorandum.
“Czech nuclear energy research has traditionally been one of the best in the world and the cooperation with NuScale on development of small modular reactors further confirms this position,” he added.