Slovak utility approves extra funding for Mochove NPP

3 April 2017

Shareholders at Slovakia’s power utility Slovenské Elektrárne (SE) on 28 March approved funding to complete units 3 and 4 of the Mochovce NPP. SE said its General Assembly unanimously approved the Strategic Plan for 2017–2021, which includes a €5.4bn ($5.8bn) budget for the project. This was an increase of $800m. The cost of completing of the reactors has increased several times and SE said it is now double the original estimate. SE is owned by the government, with a 34% stake, and a joint venture between Italy's Enel and privately-held Czech energy group EPH.

Units 3 and 4 are expected to start operations by the end of 2018 and the end of 2019, some six years later than the original schedule. Slovakia has four operating nuclear units - two each at Bohunice and Mochovce. Construction began on Mochovce 3 and 4 in 1986 and resumed in 2008 after a 16-year delay. At the end of February, Mochovce 3 was 94.7% complete and unit 4 82.8% complete. Both are both 440MWe Russian design VVER V-213 pressurised water reactors. Pressurisation tests of the primary circuit of unit 3 were completed in January and cold hydrostatic testing is underway.

SE said more than 3,500 SE workers and contractors are on-site with a further 6,500 other employees indirectly working on the project.

"Construction of these units is the largest private investment in the history of Slovakia," SE said. Some 90% of the population living in the vicinity of the favour completion of the new units, which will each have an installed capacity of 471MWe and together supply about 13% of total Slovak power demand.

The nuclear island suppliers include Inžinierske Stavby Košice for civil works; Škoda JS, Enseco and VUJE for the mechanical systems; PPA for the electrical systems and equipment; and Areva/Siemens for the control system. Other suppliers include ASE, Rolls-Royce and GSE. The conventional island suppliers are ZIPP for the civil works; Škoda Power and Modrany Power for the mechanical systems; and CKD, PPA, Energo & Schneider, Brush SEM and Techimp for the electrical systems and equipment.

SE is owned by the government, with a 34% stake, and a joint venture between Italian utility Enel and privately-held Czech energy group EPH. The Slovak government has agreed to the cost increase on condition that the majority shareholder - the Slovak Power Holding owned equally by Enel and EPH - secures the additional €800 million required for the project. Enel sold half of its 66% stake in SE to Czech energy group EPH last summer and plans to sell the remaining 33% after completion of the two new units. Enel acquired its stake in SE in 2006 for €840m, agreeing to complete the two units as part of the transaction.

Under a shareholders' agreement, Enel remains in charge of the plant's completion, and the government has blocked a proposal to raise the firm's equity, Economy Minister Peter Ziga said. He added that the government agreed to the €800m cost increase on condition that the majority shareholder (SE owned equally by Enel and EPH) secures the funds. "We refused to raise the company's capital, it's up to the majority shareholder to provide financing," Ziga said.

There have been lawsuits between Enel and the government of Prime Minister Robert Fico, a supporter of greater state control over strategic industries.  Fico has repeatedly demanded Enel should not pull out completely until Mochovce is completed. However, Enel said Mochovce's expansion was a Slovenske Elektrarne project and the responsibility of all shareholders.



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