US Westinghouse to supply fuel to both Czech nuclear plants

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FILE - a man fishes with the towering Dukovany nuclear power plant in the background, in Dukovany, Czech Republic, Sept.. 27, 2011. The Czech Republic’s major power company signed a deal on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 with U.S. Westinghouse Electric Co. to deliver fuel supplies for the Dukovany nuclear plant, erasing the country’s dependence on Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic’s power company on Wednesday signed a deal with U.S. energy giant Westinghouse Electric Co. to supply nuclear fuel for the Dukovany nuclear plant, eliminating the country’s dependence on Russia for such fuel.

State-controlled power company CEZ said that Pennsylvania-based Westinghouse will start fuel deliveries to Dukovany next year.

Russia’s TVEL, which is part of Russian energy giant Rosatom, was previously the sole supplier of fuel for the Soviet-era plant.

CEZ said Westinghouse expedited fuel development for Dokovany at the behest of the Czech government following Russia's invasion of Ukraine 13 months ago.

CEZ chief executive Daniel Benes called the deal a significant boost for energy security. The power company said it currently has enough fuel for next three years.

”We are proud to be the first Western alternative with a proven fuel design for this type of units,” Tarik Choho, president of Westinghouse Nuclear Fuel, said.

CEZ last year selected Westinghouse and France’s Framatome to supply fuel for the Czech Republic's other, Temelin nuclear plant. The country's six nuclear reactors generate more than a third of its total electricity needs.

CEZ operates four 510-megawatt units at the Dukovany power plant and another two 1,000-megawatt reactors at the Temelin plant.

Unlike its western neighbors Austria and Germany, the Czech Republic is doubling down on nuclear power in conjunction with renewable energy sources after deciding to phase out coal as a fuel for energy generation by 2033.

CEZ launched a tender last year for a new reactor at the Dukovany nuclear plant as the country aims to increase nuclear power generation.

Russia’s Rosatom and China’s CNG were excluded from the tender on security grounds.