Slovakia a possible enrichment partner

04 April 2008

Slovakia has been invited to join the Russian-led international uranium enrichment project. The prime ministers of the countries met to discuss cooperation in nuclear energy, including the Mochovce project.
The meeting on 3 April in Bratislava, Slovakia saw Russian prime minister Viktor Zubkov meet his Slovakian counterpart Robert Fico. Fico said that his country was ready to cooperate with Russia on the construction of the third and fourth reactor units of the Mochovce nuclear power plant.
AtomStroyExport is bidding to complete the nuclear islands of the VVER-440 power units, construction of which stalled in 1992. Slovenské Electrarne (66% owned by Italy's Enel) launched a completion project in February 2007 and could sign contracts for the work soon.
In addition, Zubkov said he had invited Slovakia to join the International Uranium Enrichment Centre that is being set up at the Angarsk facility in Siberia. The centre would be based on existing uranium enrichment facilities at Angarsk, which are to be expanded and reorganized. The project would see Kazakh uranium enriched using Russian technology under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) controls.
Nations without uranium enrichment capacity could then avoid developing the politically sensitive dual-use uranium enrichment technology and simply approach the consortium - or perhaps the IAEA - for guaranteed supplies of nuclear fuel from an international 'bank'.
Kazakhstan and Russia inaugurated the international project in May 2007 and Armenia joined in February 2008 while Ukraine is said to be reaching that stage, having sent delegations to visit Angarsk.