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Negotiations on new nuclear plant ‘progressing’

The Slovak cabinet on Wednesday, April 10, authorised Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský to launch talks with Russian energy company Rosatom and Czech company ČEZ Bohunice on the conditions for changing the ownership structure of Slovakia's Nuclear Energy Company (JESS), which is set to build a new nuclear power station in Jaslovské Bohunice. The Russian company has negotiated only with the state-run Nuclear and Decommissioning Company (JAVYS) so far.

The Slovak cabinet on Wednesday, April 10, authorised Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský to launch talks with Russian energy company Rosatom and Czech company ČEZ Bohunice on the conditions for changing the ownership structure of Slovakia's Nuclear Energy Company (JESS), which is set to build a new nuclear power station in Jaslovské Bohunice. The Russian company has negotiated only with the state-run Nuclear and Decommissioning Company (JAVYS) so far.

"The Russian side in the talks [with JAVYS] delved into areas that are beyond its powers. So it was necessary to include individual ministries in the talks," said Malatinský, as quoted by the TASR newswire. Rosatom has demanded that the price paid for electricity generated by any new plant should be subject to a long-term guarantee. Malatinsky noted that Slovakia doesn't have a mechanism for long-term guarantees of electricity prices.

On the same day, Greenpeace cautioned that the government's decision was ill-advised and may have adverse effects on the safety and funding of the whole project. "An international tender should have been announced to select a strategic partner for this project. Rosatom is a provider of nuclear equipment. By accepting it as a co-owner in Slovakia's Nuclear Energy Company (JESS) … Slovakia has rid itself of the option of choosing a different type of reactor, thereby threatening its position in influencing the prices of electricity and the construction timetable," said Andrea Zlatňanská of Greenpeace for TASR. Zlatňanská warned that Rosatom may push through its technologies without regard to quality.

Mayors of towns and villages from around Jaslovské Bohunice want to open a debate on the construction of new power plants. The regional congress of the Association of Towns and Villages (ZMOS) is now due to issue a position on the planned power plant. This stems from the agenda of its congress to be held on April 11 in Madunice, a municipality in the district of Hlohovec. The views of representatives of towns and villages on the future of nuclear energy in the region are no longer united; member communities of the regional association last year had different views on a planned storage facility for radioactive waste at Jaslovské Bohunice. Because of these differences, the chairperson of the regional association, Alena Jelušová, resigned and it has since been without a chairperson. Mayors will elect a new leader on Thursday, the SITA newswire wrote.

Regardless of the opinion of mayors, JESS is buying land for the new nuclear power plant through its subsidiary JESS Invest. It is thought to be paying €100,000 per hectare of arable land; in the area of the village of Radošovice alone it has already bought more than 30 hectares. Later this year, the process of Environmental Impact Assessment should begin. According to a feasibility study, the new nuclear power plant could start trial operation after 2025. The installed capacity of the new nuclear power plant could be 2,400 megawatts. According to the original plans, the cost of the project is estimated at €4-6 billion.

Sources: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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