Slovakia aims to hold new N-plant tender in 2009

Friday, October 12, 2007

BRATISLAVA, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Slovakia will probably launch a tender to build a new 1,200 megawatt nuclear plant in 2009 and has been approached by more than six potential investors, Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek said on Wednesday.
The country, which needs to meet rising demand for power in the fast growing economy and replace decommissioned stations, plans to build the plant consisting of two units at the existing Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear site by 2025, he said.

"We expect works on the V3 plant in Jaslovske Bohunice to start sometime around 2013," Jahnatek told Reuters. "If we deduct how much time we need for preparation ... I rather think that the question of the V3 (tender) will be relevant in 2009."
The 53 year-old advocate of nuclear energy had said in March that the tender for new reactors at Bohunice was likely next year. But on Wednesday he said slippage in work at the country's other semi-finished plant at Mochovce had strained resources.
The ministry said in its draft energy strategy that the V3 project would cost 3 billion euros ($4.24 billion).
Jahnatek said the tender's timing would depend on the final version of the energy strategy, which he plans to submit to the government in the first half of December.
"We have more than six interested parties and (Czech) CEZ is among them. CEZ is interested in more projects in Slovakia," he said but declined to name other potential investors.
The majority state-owned CEZ , the largest listed company in central Europe, lost a battle over the key Slovak power firm Slovenske Elektrarne (SE) to Enel . Enel bought a 66 percent stake in SE for 840 million euros in 2006.
Enel and Germany's E.ON have already confirmed interest in the new nuclear projects in Slovakia, while analysts speculated that RWE , EDF, Finland's Fortum or Russia's RAO UES could also be in the game.
Jahnatek said the cabinet wanted to bring in rivals to Enel, which already plans to complete two semi-built units at SE's Mochovce plant.
"The government's effort is rather to give a chance to other investors (than Enel) as we would like the share of other power makers on the market to rise to 50 percent by 2030," he said.
SE accounted for 65 percent of Slovak generation in 2006.
SE's June tender drove the price of 2008 baseload power to 61.3 euros per megawatt hour, more than a quarter up from 2007 and above prices in Germany.
One of the three remaining units at Bohunice in western Slovakia, operated by SE, is due to close next year under an agreement with the European Union.
Jahnatek said he would seek to extend the life of the other two 440 MW blocks (V2) in Bohunice by 20 years from the planned shutdown in 2025. If this was not cleared by the EU, he intended to propose yet another new 1,200 MW nuclear plant, apart from V3, to be located in the east of the country.
"I do not expect a serious problem (from the EU side). But if there is, we have another plan for the Kecerovce plant in eastern Slovakia," he said.

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