ŠKODA JS fulfills its obligations not only to the Czech energy sector

8. 4. 2020

Despite the current difficult conditions, the ŠKODA JS team continues in production, ensuring outages of both Czech nuclear power plants, working on Slovak nuclear power plants and with other foreign partners.

“While following all measures to protect the health of our colleagues and their loved ones, we strive to keep the company running and maintain our reliability and credibility,” says František Krček, the General Director of ŠKODA JS. “Thanks to the effort and commitment of all team members, regardless of the place and way of work, we fulfill tasks according to individual project schedules and thus establish the certainty of the company's perspective after returning to normal conditions. We are a reliable partner for nuclear energy not only in our country, but throughout Central and Eastern Europe.”

The current restrictions affect the maintenance of nuclear power plants as well as other activities of the company. Engineers throughout the power plant premises, including those working on the primary circuit, must adapt to various measures and restrictions. Work in masks is a matter of course. Employees also had to learn to work with remote access, as many meetings and consultations are handled through various links and applications.

The Temelín NPP Unit 1 is currently shut down, almost one third of the planned 60-day outage is over. Despite all the constraints and difficulties caused by the current situation, we have managed to keep the approved schedule. More than a hundred specialists of ŠKODA JS are working there, who perform service and inspections of the primary circuit logical unit.

The scope of planned service activities during this outage is one of the largest, in this extent it is carried out every six years. A complete non-destructive inspection of the reactor vessel material, the very heart of Unit 1, also began on schedule. This inspection is carried out by ŠKODA JS staff using the MKS (Modular Control System) - more detailed information on the MKS at the end of the release. Reactor inspections must be carried out even in the current situation in a continuous shiftwork. If everything goes well, the inspection will be completed in mid-April.

ŠKODA JS experts work in the same professional and dedicated way at the Dukovany NPP, where the outage of Unit 3 was prolonged until the beginning of May in order to carry out further inspections and additional work on selected parts of the primary circuit. These are very time-consuming operations that will take place in the next few weeks. ŠKODA JS employees do their best to minimize the impact of the delay on the plant's operating schedule.

Production at ŠKODA JS premises in Plzeň is uninterrupted thanks to the dedication of employees who overcome difficult working conditions, such as restriction of entry into production premises. Here, too, we have to deal with measures such as wearing masks during physically strenuous work or restricting mutual communication. In the Reactor Hall, the cask program, the surfacing of the EPR reactor components for the Hinkley Point C NPP and the final assembly of the fuel inspection stand for the Temelín NPP continue without restrictions. The Bolevec premises mainly deal with the production of PRO-M drives for Dukovany NPP, but also with a number of other orders.

The advantage of ŠKODA JS is that the production processes are long-lasting; the time from beginning of production to shipping is at least in months, rather in years. Therefore, we are not affected by material input problems at the moment and we can continue our ongoing projects and orders.

In Slovakia, ŠKODA JS staff also operate under limiting conditions resulting from government regulations, internal measures of ŠKODA JS and those of individual nuclear power plants. The current situation also complicates the usual sharing of staff for outages between the Czech and Slovak Republics (the mandatory quarantines, prohibition of crossing the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia), but so far we have been able to overcome these difficulties successfully. Workers at the Mochovce 3,4 construction site have been operatively divided into sub-groups to minimize mutual personal contact and possible impact of the situation on the standard course of activities. Preparations for outages of Bohunice and Mochovce 1,2 NPPs are in progress, as well as the necessary pre-production for individual events. Works on the EMO34 completion are ongoing, this year we expect fuel to be loaded into Unit 3 reactor.

In addition to carrying out work tasks, the ŠKODA JS team has also been involved in charitable activities. At our Temelín center, employees began to sew masks, now other departments are also involved in sewing and we offer masks to the needy throughout the Plzeň Region. At selected workplaces, employees started to produce protective shields, which are offered mainly to medical facilities around the Temelín and Dukovany power plants. ŠKODA JS supported financially the University Hospital in Plzeň, the Red Cross and ADRA charity organizations.

As of 31 March, our company employed 1,111 employees (both in Czech Republic and Slovakia), of which approximately one third are employees from blue-collar professions. Of the white-collar workers, one third work from home. Their number changes every day, as many of them change home office and standard work from their office in the company. 4 employees are in the quarantine, 17 take care of underage children whose schools are closed. No one has been infected yet.

Modular Control System - MKS
The basic element of the MKS is a special manipulator that was developed and manufactured at ŠKODA JS between 2012 and 2014. The MKS manipulator, weighing more than 5 tons during inspection, having over 10 m in height and over 4 m in diameter, was transported to the Temelín NPP in a dismantled state in March, consequently it was assembled by the ŠKODA JS staff directly in the reactor room. By reducing the assembly time, ŠKODA JS staff have shortened the work schedule by almost two shifts. The actual ultrasonic and eddy current inspection, including a detailed visual inspection of the surface with high-definition radiation-resistant cameras, takes 10 days. During the inspection, the manipulator moves along a circular track that follows the reactor circuit. In total, it turns around the reactor more than 2000 times, which corresponds to a distance of more than 20 km