Joint venture for new Slovak nuclear plant

29 May 2009

A shareholder agreement for a joint venture to construct a new nuclear power plant at the Bohunice site in Slovakia has been signed by Czech utility CEZ and Slovakian state-owned nuclear and decommissioning company Javys.

Bohunice (SE)
The Bohunice plant (Image: SE)
Under the agreement, signed today in Prague, Javys will hold a 51% stake in the joint venture, with CEZ holding the remaining 49%. The joint venture will conduct a feasibility study into the construction of a large new reactor at the Bohunice site, to replace power from the shutdown Bohunice (V1) units 1 and 2, both Russian-designed VVER-440 units. This study is scheduled to be completed in 2010.
Plans for a fifth unit at Bohunice, referred to as Bohunice V3, were announced in April 2008 and are for a 1000-1600 MWe reactor. In December 2008, CEZ preliminarily agreed to be a 49% joint venture partner in the project. Plans call for construction of the new unit to start in 2013, with the plant beginning commercial operation around 2020.
Ján Valko, chairman of Javys said, "The historical bonds maintained by the Slovak and Czech energy and nuclear industries of both countries in are among the closest ones in the whole of Europe. Today we strengthen these bonds further by the new project of building of the nuclear power station that will contribute significantly to increase the energetic independence of Slovakia and to reduce significantly the deficit of power production capacities in Slovakia."
"It is an honour for us to be a partner selected by the Slovak government to build the nuclear source in Slovakia," said Martin Roman, CEZ's chairman. He added, "Today's signature of the shareholder agreement starts another project with which we can engage stronger in the energy sector in Slovakia. Besides, nuclear energy is a highly ecological and economical source; both countries have been using nuclear energy in the long term and disposing of top experts on this area; so this partnership will bring synergies to both parties."
Slovakia currently operates four nuclear power reactors at two sites: the two units at Bohunice and two at Mochovce are all of the Russian VVER design.
Under duress, as a precondition for Slovak entry into the EU in 2004, the Slovak government committed to closing the Bohunice V1 units 1 and 2 due to perceived safety deficiencies in that early model reactor. The original date specified for closing them down was 2000, though subsequently 2006 and 2008 were agreed in relation to EU accession.
Slovakia began work in November 2008 to complete the third and fourth units at the Mochovce plant. Construction work began on Mochovce 3 and 4 in 1986, but stalled with the units incomplete in 1992.