Slovakian nuclear JV gets government blessing

10 December 2009

The formation of a joint venture company to build and operate a new nuclear power station at Bohunice is to be finalised by the end of the year now that the Slovakian government has given its consent.


Bohunice (SE)
Bohunice (Image: SE)

The joint venture will be 51% owned by Slovakian state-owned nuclear and decommissioning company Javys, with Czech utility CEZ holding the remainder. The two companies agreed to set up the joint venture in May 2009 and have chosen the name Jadrová energetická spoločnosť Slovenska a.s. (JESS).

 

The European Commission (EC) cleared the joint venture under European Union merger regulations on 4 November, saying that it would not "significantly impede" competition within the European economic area. Although it identified a horizontal overlap between the power generation activities of JESS and CEZ, and a vertical link between JESS's upstream nuclear waste production and Javy's downstream radioactive waste management activities, the EC ruled that the Czech company's small market share in the Slovakian wholesale electricity supply and the contractual framework for radioactive waste treatment in Slovakia served to offset these concerns.

Anticipating the Slovakian government's approval, a Javys press release noted that the decision would mean that the establishment of the joint venture should be completed by the end of 2009.

Slovakia currently operates four nuclear power reactors at the Bohunice and Mochovce sites, but was required to close down two older reactors at Bohunice as a condition of its 2004 accession to the EU. Those units, collectively known as Bohunice V1, closed in 2006 and 2008. Meanwhile, a project was launched in November 2008 to complete work on the third and fourth units at the Mochovce plant, which had begun in 1986 but stalled with the units incomplete in 1992. Those units are now scheduled to start up in 2013.

Plans for the new fifth Bohunice unit (also referred to as Bohunice V3) were announced in April 2008, with the government announcing the Javys-CEZ joint venture in December 2008. Unlike Slovakia's other nuclear plants, which use Russian reactor designs, the 1000-1600 MWe plant planned for Bohunice is thought to be likely to use western technology to enable it to burn MOX (mixed oxide) fuel.

Construction work on the new Bohunice plant is pencilled in for 2013, looking to a startup date of 2020.
 

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