Bratislava, August 25 (TASR) – The third reactor block at Mochovce nuclear power plant in Nitra region should be put into full operation after 18 weeks from the loading of the fuel, that is, at the beginning of next year, Slovenske Elektrarne (SE) power utility CEO Branislav Strycek stated at a press conference on Thursday.
The commissioning of the reactor was made possible by a second-degree decision of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (UJD) on Thursday.
SE will load fuel to the reactor after 15 days, that is, after the UJD’s decision becomes final. “Eighteen weeks after the fuel is loaded, we’ll be at full capacity,” said Strycek. “Our highest priority in the electricity production is always safety, and we’ll proceed in the same way when putting the unit into operation. We have decades of experience in the operation of nuclear units and a team of internationally recognised experts who will have this entire process under control,” added the SE CEO.
The commissioning phase ends after all physical and energy start-up tests have been carried out, with a 144-hour proof run at full power. The reactor block will start supplying electricity to the grid after connecting one of the generators, which will happen at 20 percent nominal power already during energy start-up.
Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OLaNO) pointed out that Slovakia has been waiting a very long time for the launch of the third block of Mochovce, but safety had to be put first. However, the timing for the launch of the third block’s operation turned out to be quite felicitous. “It has come at a rather suitable time, as we’re facing a big energy crisis these days,” emphasised the premier, adding that Slovakia is now becoming a country, with an energy mix in which nuclear energy has swelled from 52 percent to 65 percent.
Construction work on the third block began back in 1987 but was suspended later. The new block will generate an output of 471 megawatts (MW) to cover approximately 13 percent of the overall electricity consumption. Once the third block operates at full power output following its trial run, Slovakia will become self-sufficient in electricity generation.
The construction of Mochovce power plant saw significant cost overruns. Slovenske Elektrarne power utility expected costs in the neighbourhood of €3 billion, but the final price tag climbed to €6.2 billion.