Slovenské elektrárne (SE) said unit 3 at the Mochovce NPP has been connected to the grid for the first time at 20% of its nominal power. This followed successful start-up tests, and the launch of steam turbines. This milestone was achieved less than three weeks after Slovakia’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (UJD – Úrad jadrového dozoru) approved start-up.
“This will help us fulfil the agreement with the government whereby Slovenské elektrárne has undertaken to supply cheap electricity for households at a price of €61.2077 ($66.7) per MWh, which represents an unprecedented low price for electricity for households within the EU,” said Branislav Strýcek, SE Board Chairman & CEO. “The new unit will make a significant contribution not only to energy stability but also to the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the road to carbon neutrality.”
Following the initial start-up, power was gradually increased with tests performed power levels of 5%, 15% and 20% after which the first turbogenerator was launched and the unit began to supply its first electricity to the grid.
However, further tests will be performed at different power levels from 35-100%. “In the coming weeks, the new unit will supply electricity to the grid with short-term scheduled shutdowns, according to the schedule for commissioning the new unit,” explained plant director Martin Mráz.
Full functionality will be confirmed by successful completion of a 144-hour proof run at nominal power. The new unit will provide approximately 13% of total electricity consumption making Slovakia energy self-sufficient and a net exporter of electricity, with even more exports expected when unit 4 is completed in 2024.
Construction of the first two 471 MWe VVER units at the four-unit Mochovce plant began in 1982. Construction of units 3&4, which started in 1986, was frozen in 1992. Units 1&2 began operation in 1998 and 1999 and work to complete units 3&4 resumed in 2009 but faced a series of delays. The final design includes many upgrades to safety and security, introduced in the wake of the Fukushima accident. The new unit, which has a design life of some 60 years, will supply some 13% of Slovakia’s total electricity consumption. Slovakia expects to become self-sufficient in electricity production in 2023.
Unit 4 is expected to start up within 1-2 years.
In addition to NPPs, SE operates 31 hydro, two thermal and two photovoltaic power plants with a total capacity of 4143.8 MWe. The majority shareholder is Slovak Power Holding BV (SPH) with just over 66% of the share capital. Within SPH, EP Slovakia BV (a subsidiary of the EPH Group) and Enel Produzione (a subsidiary of the Enel Group) hold 50% each. The minority shareholder of SE, with just under 34%, is the Slovak Republic through the Ministry of Economy.