US-based reactors and nuclear services provider, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ČEZ for the potential use of small modular reactor (SMR) technology in the Czech Republic.

The companies will examine the economic and technical feasibility of potentially constructing a BWRX-300 in the Czech Republic.

ČEZ CEO and board of directors chairman Daniel Beneš said: “As a company, we are focused on developing new energy solutions and technologies.

“We are already engaged with the development of small modular reactors, especially in our daughter company ÚJV Řež.

“The SMRs can be a significant alternative in the future that we cannot ignore. The collaboration with GE Hitachi is therefore a logical step for us.”

ČEZ operates two nuclear power facilities in the Czech Republic

Currently, ČEZ operates two nuclear power facilities in the Czech Republic that generate about one-third of the country’s electricity.

GEH said that the government of Czech is planning to replace aging coal plants with new nuclear energy and renewable energy in the future.

Czech Republic industry vice-premier and minister Karel Havlíček said: “Czech nuclear energy research has traditionally been one of the best in the world and the cooperation with GE Hitachi on development of small modular reactors further confirms this position.”

BWRX-300 is a 300MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR which includes passive safety systems that uses the design and licensing basis of GEH’s US NRC-certified ESBWR.

GEH expects that the BWRX-300 will need less capital cost per MW compared to other water-cooled SMR designs or existing large nuclear reactor designs.

According to the company, BWRX-300 is the tenth evolution of GE’s first BWR design.

In July 2018, GEH was selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to lead an advanced nuclear technology development project for its BWRX-300.