Mochovce completion follows schedule

The nuclear regulator has not completely ruled out a further possible delay in the completion.

Mochovce nuclear power plantMochovce nuclear power plant (Source: SME)

The planned deadlines for the completion of the third and fourth units of the nuclear power plant in Mochovce (Nitra Region) are still realistic, stated the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic (ÚJD) in late November.

The power plant’s operator, the dominant energy utility company Slovenské Elektrárne, will most likely put it into operation at the end of 2018 and 2019, respectively.

“The permit holder for the construction of the Mochovce nuclear power plant regularly informs us about the progress of the completion at monthly intervals,” said Zuzana Hosťovecká, spokesperson for ÚJD, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

The current license holder declares the expected deadline for loading the first fuel assembly into the reactor of Mochovce’s third unit in mid-July 2018.

“The start of the physical launch of the nuclear power plant begins with the loading of the first fuel assembly,” Hosťovecká added, as quoted by SITA.

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However, the regulator did not completely rule out a further possible delay in the completion.

“With such a large and complex project as the construction of a nuclear power plant, there are problems that cannot be predicted and that may have an impact on the overall construction and commissioning schedule of the nuclear installation,” Hosťovecká said, as quoted by SITA.

The proper coordination of construction and assembly works as well as the functional testing of individual operating systems are prerequisites for observing the set deadlines, the ÚJD claimed.

“We place the greatest emphasis in performing our supervisory activity on observing the principle of prioritising nuclear safety over other activities,” Hosťovecká added, as quoted by SITA.

Interrupted administrative procedure no threat

The ÚJD interrupted the administrative procedure for issuing a permit to commission a nuclear installation in September. The interruption of the administrative procedure in no way prevents further progress in the completion of Mochovce.

“The organisation of Mochovce’s completion is entirely the responsibility of Slovenské Elektrárne,” the ÚJD spokesperson explained to SITA. “We decided to suspend the administrative procedure and set the conditions for its continuation, from which the decisive condition is achieving the appropriate state of preparedness of the third unit equipment for commissioning.”

Slovenské Elektrárne is gradually delivering documentation to the ÚJD with corrected deficiencies in the submissions that the ÚJD identified.

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“So far, not all the documents in which the ÚJD found deficiencies have been sent back,” Hosťovecká said, as quoted by SITA. “The deadline for addressing the deficiencies in the documentation is February 15 of next year, so there is still time to meet this condition. It turns out that the decisive factor for continuing the procedure will be achieving the preparedness of the third unit for a cold-pressure test of the primary circuit.”

The latest deadline for meeting this condition is the end of August 2018. This date is realistically achievable and is in line with the completion schedule, the spokesperson said.

“However, its fulfilment requires the further improvement of coordinating the construction and assembly work on the construction and testing of the third unit facilities,” Hosťovecká added, as quoted by SITA.

Tests being prepared

Currently, preparations are underway in Mochovce for the start of a cold pressure test of the primary circuit.

“This is the first of the complex tests on the nuclear unit as a whole, which requires the mutual cooperation of the decisive systems of the power plant,” the ÚJD spokesperson continued.

Mochovce’s third unit is almost 96 percent complete and the fourth unit 84 percent complete, the recently published information indicates.

Slovenské Elektrárne officially began the completion of Mochovce on November 3, 2008. The original deadlines for completing the third and fourth units were scheduled for 2012 and 2013, respectively, but the company has failed to meet them.

Apart from the deadlines, the budget for completing the nuclear units has changed several times. The latest budget for completion is €5.4 billion, up from the €2.8 billion expected back in 2008, SITA reported.

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