Czech Republic switches to US imports in place of Russian nuclear fuel

The American company Westinghouse will provide both Czech nuclear power plants with fuel, so the country can stop importing Russian nuclear fuel by the end of 2023.

The Czech nuclear power plant in Dukovany has been using fuel from the Russian company TVEL, which is part of the Russian state holding Rosatom since the plant began operating almost 40 years ago. However, after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the Czech energy company ČEZ, which operates the plant, decided to change the supplier for security reasons.

“Securing a western supplier of fuel assemblies for Dukovany is a significant step not only for the Czech energy sector but for the whole of the Czech Republic. This is another significant strengthening of energy security,” said Daniel Benes, CEO of ČEZ Group.

The Czech Republic is not the only nuclear country that wants to replace Russian nuclear fuel, which is not subject to EU sanctions.

Meanwhile, Slovakia’s largest electricity producer, Slovenské elektrárne (SE), is also looking for a new nuclear fuel supplier.

“We need to have enough fuel from safe sources, so we are trying to move away from the Russian source as soon as possible,” Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said after meeting with his Czech counterpart Petr Fiala on Monday.

Until now, there were rumors that there was no replacement for Russian fuel for Dukovany reactors. However, according to ČEZ, Westinghouse has recently accelerated its development and can now supply fuel to the plant. The fuel will be produced at Westinghouse’s plant in Sweden. It will use fuel similar to the one developed for the Ukrainian NPP. However, it will differ in some technical details.

Westinghouse and the French company Framatome will also supply nuclear fuel to the Temelín plant starting next year. This means that both Czech plants will stop importing Russian fuel by the end of the year.

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