The Slovak Government is planning an additional 1.2GW nuclear power unit, Reuters has reported.

Prime Minister Robert Fico indicated that a decision could be made at a government meeting on 15 May 2024, which would lay the groundwork for the project’s development.

Slovakia has a history of supporting nuclear and hydroenergy. The state has a 33% stake in utility Slovenske Elektrarne, which recently completed Unit 3 at the Mochovce plant and is finalising another unit at the same location.

In a broadcast news conference, Fico stated: “We have an agreement that Slovakia – the state – has an interest in building, under state ownership, one massive nuclear unit with an output of up to 1,200MW.”

The country operates two nuclear units at Jaslovske Bohunice, each with a capacity of 505MW, and the Mochovce facility, all through Slovenske Elektrarne.

Despite Slovakia’s more pro-Russian stance under Fico compared with previous administrations, Economy Minister Denisa Sakova stated that the supplier for the new unit would be chosen through a competitive tendering process, explicitly excluding Russia’s Rosatom from participation.

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Minister Sakova was quoted by Reuters: “From the political point of view we cannot imagine that the technology would come from the Russian Federation. We expect that top companies active in nuclear energy will be interested.”

She added that French, US or Korean companies could be among them and that the government aims to complete the tender in the election cycle ending in 2027.

In September 2023, Slovenské Elektrárne commenced full-power operations of Unit 3 at the Mochovce NPP.

The start-up process for the VVER-440 reactors involved incremental power increases, with comprehensive testing at each power level to confirm performance.

By February 2023, Unit 3’s power output reached 35% of its total capacity, followed in increments to 55% in March, 75% in July and 90% in August.

The Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority has since authorised the utility to increase the reactor’s output to 100%.

The construction of the first two units at the Mochovce plant began in 1982, utilising VVER-440 V-213 reactor units. Units 1 and 2 became operational in 1998 and 1999, respectively.

Following upgrades with the help of Western companies, Mochovce 1 and 2 had an increased output of 436MW by June 2008.