Mochovce, July 10 (TASR) – Italian firm Enel will provide from its own resources a shareholder loan to energy utility Slovenske elektrarne (SE) of €700 million, with the money to be used to cover the costs of constructing the third and fourth reactor blocks at Mochovce Nuclear Power Plant, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) said during an inspection visit to the power plant.
“This isn’t an increase in the budget, which is set at €5.4 billion. Of this amount, €4.9 billion has already been contracted and more than €4.5 billion has been paid out,” said Pellegrini.
The Government agreed in March 2017 to increase the budget from €4.6 billion to €5.4 billion under the condition that the majority shareholder would provide the financing needed to complete the third and fourth blocks from its own resources. “We should be approving a loan to Slovenske elektrarne at the Government session slated to be held tomorrow [on Wednesday, July 11], with the fact that any claims concerning Gabcikovo [Gabcikovo Hydroelectric Power Plant] that might arise from litigation taken by the Slovak Republic against Slovenske elektrarne will be applied later, so it will be at the same level as if it were a shareholder loan,” said Economy Minister Peter Ziga (Smer-SD).
According to Pellegrini, there’s been a change in the post of project manager for the construction of the third and fourth blocks of the power plant at Mochovce, which has been positively reflected in the management of the work. “He’s brought a new dynamic that gives good prerequisites for keeping to the first key deadline, which is coming in the next few days,” said the prime minister. Cold hydrostatic testing, during which most key systems will be tested, will start on July 15. “This will be followed by a small review, hot hydrostatic testing, a major revision and fuelling in the first quarter of next year. The third block is scheduled to begin operating in the second quarter of 2019, with the fourth block to be launched roughly a year later if nothing unforeseen happens,” said Branislav Strycek, the chair of the board of directors and CEO of Slovenske elektrarne.
The Mochovce power plant should originally have been launched in 2012, with an estimated budget of €2.8 billion. The dates have gradually been postponed, with the budget increasing. An Extraordinary General Meeting last March approved a strategic plan for 2017-21, including the completion of the third and fourth blocks for €5.4 billion.
During the inspection, the premier said that he would return to Mochovce along with the economy minister in the autumn of this year. “We’ll check in detail adherence to the timetable so that we don’t see any further movements in deadlines, as has been the case over the past few years. If that happens, I’ll look for ways to resolve the problem with the minister, including by taking specific action … against those who delay the construction work,” said Pellegrini.