European bank loan for Slovak investments

11 December 2018

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced a EUR60 million (USD68 million) loan to utility Slovenské Elektrárne to finance investments in nuclear safety at Slovakia's existing Bohunice and Mochovce nuclear power plants.

Mochovce (Image: Slovenské Elektrárne)

The loan will enable Slovenské Elektrárne to make investments to fulfil its obligations under EU and national legislation and support the continued operation of the plants, the EIB said yesterday. In particular, it will be used to implement "certain measures" identified from post-Fukushima stress tests for nuclear power plants, the bank said. These measures are defined as part of Slovakia's National Plan.

The EIB announced the loan to Slovenské Elektrárne alongside one of EUR320 million for improvements to transport infrastructure. EIB Vice-President Vazil Hudák said the loans were significant for "improving the quality of life" of Slovak citizens. The loan to Slovenské Elektrárne would bring key benefits to the country "by contributing to the safe operation of strategic and low carbon assets in the field of domestic electricity generation," he said.

"Nuclear is the single largest source of low-carbon electricity in Europe," Slovenské Elektrárne Chairman and General Director Branislav Strýček said. "If we are serious about achieving Europe's climate goals, we must continue to invest in nuclear power plants' safety and efficiency. The signing of the loan clearly demonstrates the EIB's continuing commitment to support clean, low-carbon energy production," he said.

Slovakia's four operating nuclear units - two at Bohunice and two at Mochovce - are Soviet-designed VVERs. Slovakia agreed to close two older units at Bohunice as a condition of its accession to the EU in 2004, and these were shut down in 2006 and 2008.

Construction of two further units at Mochovce - of an evolutionary design based on the VVER-440 V-213 pressurised water reactor with safety upgrades that make the units compliant with current national and international nuclear safety standards - resumed in 2008 after a 16-year hiatus. Mochovce unit 3 is currently expected to start up in 2019 and unit 4 in 2020.

The EIB is the EU's bank, and is owned by and represents the interests of the EU Member States. It works with other EU institutions to implement EU policy, and provides finance and expertise for sustainable investment projects that contribute to EU policy objectives.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News