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Will we see the first small and modular reactors (SMRs) in South Bohemia around 2035, as planned by ĆEZ? You will learn about the latest news in the development of progressive nuclear devices from the Czech Republic and the world and much more at the Small Modular Reactors conference, which will be held by Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering of CTU (FJFI) in its main building (Břehová 7, Prague 1) on Tuesday, 28 May, in cooperation with the Alveda agency.

"The development of SMRs has really accelerated in recent years and a number of manufacturers are finalising their concepts. In fact, we are already waiting for the first commercial installations," says Dr. Jan Rataj, Head of the Department of Nuclear Reactors at FJFI. "I am very pleased that representatives of virtually all the major companies working on SMRs will come to our conference to update us on the current status of their projects and future plans," Rataj adds.

The conference will be opened by the Rector of CTU doc. RNDr. Vojtěch Petráček, CSc. and CEO of Alvel, a.s. and will be attended by a number of experts from the Czech Republic and the world. So what will you learn and what can you look forward to?

The topic of development of small nuclear units will be presented by Ing. Silvana Jirotková, Director of the SMR Development Unit from ČEZ. According to the company's plans, smaller nuclear sources could gradually replace coal power plants, which ČEZ Group currently operates, for example, in the Ústí nad Labem region.

ČEZ wants to have a fleet of small reactors with an output of up to 3000 megawatts by the end of 2045 (for comparison: one unit of Temelín NPP has an output of 1125 MW). This is also envisaged in The State Energy Concept of the Czech Government, which will be presented at the conference by Dr. Tomáš Ehler from the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.

We will look for inspiration abroad - specifically in Finland, which is world-leading in SMR technology. The Nordic country will be represented at the conference by project engineer Aleksi Valkeapää from STUK (Finnish equivalent to the Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety - SÚJB). 

While mentioning the SÚJB - the representative of this office Mgr. Štěpán Kochánek will give a lecture on the SMR permitting and licensing processes and their pitfalls. Experts from the Institute for Nuclear Research and ČEZ will also talk about how to deal with small nuclear units after their end of life, and the expert part will be concluded by a panel discussion. 

In the afternoon, the conference will continue with short presentations of SMR projects from leading manufacturers such as the US Westinghouse, the French EDF, the Korean consortium KHNP or the British Rolls-Royce SMR.

What are small modular reactors

The Small Modular Reactor (SMR) makes it possible to build a nuclear power plant essentially like a model kit or building block. The reactors are manufactured in a unified way at the manufacturer's premises and then the individual building modules are assembled according to the user's needs. Unified modules allow for simpler and therefore faster approval, construction and, of course, subsequent operation. Due to their small size, high flexibility and lower power output, SMRs can be placed directly where the generated electricity or heat is needed, reducing the demands on the transmission grid.

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