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IN SHORT

Jahnátek: Slovakia must build new power plants

ECONOMY Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek says Slovakia has to count on building new power generation sources following the closure of the V1 reactor block at the Jaslovské Bohunice nuclear station from 2006 to 2008.

"If the country wants to keep producing enough power to meet its needs, it will not be enough to merely increase production at existing units - we will also need to build new ones," the minister said at a meeting with the British Chamber of Commerce on January 29.

On top of the EU-mandated Bohunice closure, the recent interruption in Russian crude oil supplies to Central and Eastern Europe due to a trade war between Russia and Belarus exposed Slovakia's reliance on Russian oil as well as its need to diversify.

Of key importance in any diversification strategy is linking the Odessa-Brody crude oil pipeline (Black Sea to Ukraine) to the Druzhba pipeline that transverses Slovakia, as well as the construction of a pipeline from Bratislava to the Schwechat refinery in Vienna.

Regarding natural gas supplies, Jahnátek said the Nabucco pipeline from Turkey to Austria could be a good alternative to Russian supplies. Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria are also participating on this project.

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