Plant Operation

Slovakia / Nuclear Share To Hit 65% As Regulator Approves Commissioning Of Mochovce-3

By David Dalton
26 August 2022

Country will be second only to France for reactor generation
Nuclear Share To Hit 65% As Regulator Approves Commissioning Of Mochovce-3
File photo of construction at the Mochovce-3 nuclear power station in Slovakia. Courtesy Slovenske Elektrarne.
The Mochovce-3 nuclear power plant in western Slovakia should finally enter full commercial operation at the beginning of 2023 after the country’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (UJD) gave its approval, Slovenske Elektrarne chief executive officer Branislav Strycek said.

Operation of the new unit, Slovakia’s fifth, could bring the share of nuclear in the country’s electricity generation to 65%, putting it second behind only France, with 69%.

Mr Strycek was speaking in response to a decision by the UJD in which it rejected appeals against the unit’s operation and confirmed an earlier decision allowing it to go ahead.

In a statement on its website UJD said it had received appeals related to the plant’s commissioning, but gave no further details.

“The UJD consistently checked and evaluated all areas, demonstrating the technical and qualitative readiness of the third unit for fuel loading,” said Marta Ziakova, head of the ÚJD. “The readiness of the reactor block for the loading of the first fuel assembly and the start of active tests had to be demonstrated comprehensively in all assessed areas.”

Slovenske Elektrarne, the country’s main electrical power producer, will soon begin loading nuclear fuel into the reactor, a process which is scheduled to take 18 weeks.

PM Says Timing Of Startup ‘Fortuitous’

The Slovak Spectator quoted prime minister Eduard Heger as saying Slovakia has been waiting “a very long time” for the launch of Mochovce-3, but safety had to be put first. The timing of the plant’s startup has turned out to be fortuitous, he said.

“It has come at a rather suitable time, as we’re currently facing a big energy crisis,” Heger said, adding that nuclear's share of Slovakia’s energy mix is now about to increase from 52% to 65%.

Slovakia is building two 440-MW Russia-designed VVER units at Mochovce, about 100 km east of the capital Bratislava. There are already two VVER units – Mochovce-1 and -2 – at the site that began operation in 1998 and 2000. Slovakia’s other nuclear plants are Bohunice-3 and -4, both 446-MW VVER units.

The Mochovce and Bohunice facilities are owned by Slovenske Elektrarne, which is in turn owned by the Slovak government, Italy’s Enel and Czech group EPH. Construction of the third and fourth units at Mochovce began in the late 1980s during the Communist era only for work to be halted in the 1990s.

Construction of the new units resumed more than a decade ago but has suffered delays and cost overruns. Estimates from 2019 put the cost at between €5.7bn and €5.7bn.

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