Innovations from ŠKODA JS save nuclear power plants tens of millions

14. 4. 2023

A unique program by a Plzeň-based engineering company aimed at prolonging the operation of important control components in nuclear reactors has had another major success in Hungary. Thanks to the modifications, nuclear power plants can save tens of millions of crowns.  Now ŠKODA JS a.s., a member of the ČEZ Group, can offer these innovations to all operators of selected reactor types.

The so-called intermediate rods are one of the important components for the regulation of VVER 440 nuclear reactors, i.e. those operating at Czech Dukovany, Finnish Loviisa, Slovak Mochovce, Hungarian Paks and Ukrainian Rovno nuclear power plants, for example. The rod´s original lifetime was 5 years, after which the operators had to replace them. Thanks to ŠKODA JS´ modifications, they can now operate safely for 18 to 20 years.

"We have developed technological upgrades of the rod´s end capture and other modifications. Of course, we tested them very thoroughly first. The result is a significant extension of the rod´s service life, which also helps to further extend the operation of nuclear power plants in Central, Northern and Eastern Europe," explains František Krček, the General Director of ŠKODA JS.

At the same time, the substantial extension of the service life of major components also means significant savings in material, labour and thus money. In practice, operators will save tens to hundreds of millions of crowns.

The rods themselves are almost 5 metres long, weighing 61 kilograms each. They form part of the mechanism that regulates the power output of a nuclear reactor. In total, ŠKODA JS has already manufactured and supplied over 1,200 of these important components for nuclear units in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Ukraine and Finland. Most recently, the Plzeň-based company has delivered a consignment of intermediate rods to the operator of the Paks 1 nuclear power plant in Hungary. The Paks  reactors were also manufactured in Plzeň, furthermore, ŠKODA JS has been involved in its operation, maintenance and modernization for decades.  

Jan Stolár
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