Czech Temelin nuke plant switches from US to Russian fuel

16th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Temelin nuclear power plant in the southern Czech Republic will gradually switch from US to Russian fuel over the next year, its spokesman Vaclav Brom told AFP on Friday.

"Russia's TVEL offered the best conditions in a 2006 tender. We are loading the first fuel to the reactor of the first unit right now," he said.

The 2,000-megawatt plant run by Czech state-run power producer CEZ had up to now been using fuel from the US company Westinghouse, which also supplied some technology used at the facility.

Loading at the first 1,000-megawatt unit will take about 66 days, Brom said, adding fuel from TVEL would be loaded to the second unit next year.

"The work will require 600 CEZ employees and 1,000 experts from 50 supplier companies," said Brom.

The spent fuel will be stored near the plant, where it will stay for about 60 years before it is taken to a deep repository.

Planned in the communist era and launched in 2000, Temelin sparked a long-dragging dispute between the Czech Republic and Austria which insists the reactors situated 60 kilometres (35 miles) from its border are not safe.

The new Czech centre-right government which took office this week said in its coalition agreement that it supports the completion of Temelin.

Last year, CEZ opened a tender for the supply of two new units, with completion expected roughly in fifteen years.

Three bidders have placed their offers in the tender, groups led by Russia's Atomstroiexport, Westinghouse, and France's Areva.

© 2010 AFP

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