Unit 3 of Slovakia’s Mochovce NPP has achieved 100% power as start-up tests continue, owner-operator Slovenské elektrárne (SE) announced. The unit's power was increased to 35% in February, 55% in March, 75% in July and 90% in August. A report on the tests has been submitted to the Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority (UJD - Úrad jadrového dozoru), which confirmed it had fulfilled the required conditions for 100% power.
Construction of the first two 471 MWe VVER units at the four-unit Mochovce plant began in 1982. Construction of units 3&4, which started in 1986, was frozen in 1992. Units 1&2 began operation in 1998 and 1999 and work to complete units 3&4 resumed in 2009 but faced a series of delays.
The final power escalation tests at unit 3 at full power will be followed by a 144-hour trial run. Peter Farkaš, Mochovce NPP operations manager said full-scale tests are planned for the end of September and the beginning of October, including the 144-hour trial run. SE Chairman & General Director Branislav Strýcek described the event as “a historic moment for Slovenské elektrárne and Slovakia”.
SE noted that since being connected to the grid in January, Mochovce 3 has supplied over 1000 GWh of electricity, sufficient to cover the average annual consumption of about 400,000 Slovak households. It said that at full power, the unit can cover the consumption of up to 1.3m households a year.
The new unit, which has a design life of some 60 years, will supply some 13% of Slovakia's total electricity consumption. Slovakia expects to become self-sufficient in electricity production in 2023. Unit 4 is expected to start up within 1-2 years.
SE has two shareholders. The majority shareholder is Slovak Power Holding (SPH) with a share of just over 66%. Within SPH, EP Slovakia owns a 50% share and the remaining 50% belongs to Enel Produzione (a subsidiary of Italy’s Enel). The minority shareholder with a share of just under 34% is the Slovak Republic through the Ministry of Economy.
Image: The Mochovce nuclear power plant (courtesy of Slovenské elektrárne)