Slovakia happy for Russia to join nuclear plant expansion

By bne IntelliNews April 11, 2013

bne -

Abandoned by Czech utility CEZ, Slovakia is ready to accept Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom as a partner for the construction of a new nuclear reactor, the Economy Ministry in Bratislava said on April 9.

The Slovak state, which holds pre-emptive rights for CEZ's 49% stake in a project to build a new unit at the existing Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power plant, is ready to negotiate with the Russian company on conditions for allowing it to take the shares, a document scheduled for cabinet discussion says, according to Bloomberg.

CEZ joined the €4bn-6bn project in partnership with state-controlled Slovak company JAVYS in 2008, at a cost of €117m. However, the Czech power giant is facing a bill of €8bn-10bn for the expansion of its Temelin nuclear plant at home, and has admitted the cost is only likely to be manageable if it abandons other major projects.

The Russian company is likely to welcome the offer. Moscow has pushed the export of nuclear technology in recent years; it's one of the few successful elements of its bid to diversify the Russian economy away from raw materials and toward high-tech, value-added production. Rosatom is building nuclear plants in numerous emerging economies, mostly in Asia.

At the same time, Moscow is always keen to increase its influence in Europe, and especially in CEE. Rosatom is currently pushing for a contract to expand Hungary's nuclear capacity, while a subsidiary leads one of the two remaining competitors in the tender for CEZ's Temelin contract.

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