Slovakia's Mochovce 3 fuel loading begins

09 September 2022

Slovenské elektrárne brought the first fuel assembly to unit 3 of the Mochovce nuclear power plant at 1.16am local time on Friday. The Slovakian company says the aim is for it to reach full power by the end of 2022.

Generation from Mochovce 3 will cover about 13% of Slovakia's total electricity consumption (Image: Slovenské elektrárne)

In the next four months or so, Slovenské elektrárne says it will gradually complete the phases of physical start-up, energy start-up and the final 144-hour demonstration run of the 471-megawatt unit at full capacity.

Steps to be completed include the loading of the fuel itself, which takes 108 hours, followed by reactor assembly, pre-critical tests, critical state attainment and physical start-up tests. That is expected to take about six weeks, after which will the reactor power will gradually be increased - to 5, 20, 35, 55, 75, 90 and finally 100 percent of the reactor power - and a number of tests carried out.

Branislav Strýček, Chairman and CEO of Slovenské elektrárne called it "the culmination of a long-standing project that is one of the largest and most demanding in Europe, both financially and infrastructurally".

He added: "When launched at full capacity, Mochovce 3 will cover 13% of electricity consumption in Slovakia. As a result, our country becomes self-sufficient. At the same time, we will have one of the cleanest energy mixes in Europe. This milestone would not have been possible without the people of Slovenské elektrárne, our suppliers and experts from the European nuclear industry, especially Slovakia and the Czech Republic."

Construction of the first two 471 MWe VVER units at the four-unit Mochovce plant started in 1982. Work began on units 3 and 4 in 1986, but stalled in 1992. The first two reactors were completed and came into operation in 1998 and 1999 with a project to complete units 3 and 4 beginning ten years later.

The final design includes many upgrades to safety and security, including increased aircraft impact protection and emergency management measures based on lessons from the Fukushima accident which were incorporated during the project. The Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority issued the final authorisation for commissioning of unit 3 of the Mochovce nuclear power plant last month.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News