IAEA's Grossi praises Slovakia's nuclear progress

09 November 2023

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi has visited the "success story" of Mochovce's new nuclear power unit, and held talks with the president and prime minister, during his first visit in the role to Slovakia.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, right, saw the progress at Mochovce (Image: Slovenské elektrárne)

The visit came shortly after the commissioning of Mochovce 3, with operator Slovenské elektrárne providing an update too on the progress of unit 4. Together with Denisa Saková, Slovakian Economy Minister, and Marta Žiaková, Chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic, Grossi visited the turbine hall and control room of unit 3 and also visited unit 4, which is under construction.

Grossi said: "When the fourth unit comes into operation, this country will be practically decarbonised. Slovakia will be able to say that it produces energy without harming the environment. Slovaks can be rightly proud of their achievement. Mochovce produces clean energy for Slovakia, but also for the whole of Europe. When the fourth unit starts up, you will be able to export it. It is a success story. The timetable allows us to assume that already in 2025 we will benefit from the energy produced by the fourth unit."

Saková said: "Nuclear energy plays a really important role for us in providing a stable, safe source of energy and especially a carbon-neutral source of energy. When complemented by variable renewable energy sources, it can help us contribute to solving global energy and climate problems."

Branislav Strýček, chairman and CEO of Slovenské elektrárne, said: "The journey is not over, there are other challenges ahead of us, the completion and commissioning of Mochovce unit 4, the implementation of the study on small modular reactors. Our goal is to continue investing in the technologies of the future in order to ensure sufficient energy and a sustainable future for the people of Slovakia and Europe."

After his meeting with  President Zuzana Caputova and Prime Minister Robert Fico in Bratislava, Grossi posted a social media message offering his congratulations to the president "on the success of the Slovak nuclear programme, a cornerstone in efforts to decarbonise the economy" as well as thanks for the "steadfast support" for the agency's work at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Construction of the first two VVER-440 units at the four-unit Mochovce plant started in 1982. Work began on units 3 and 4 in 1986, but stalled in 1992. The first two reactors were completed and came into operation in 1998 and 1999, respectively, with a project to complete units 3 and 4 beginning ten years later. Unit 4's schedule has been to follow about one or two years behind unit 3. Each of the units will be able to provide 13% of Slovakia's electricity needs when operating at full capacity.

In total, Slovakia currently has five operational power reactors at Mochovce and Bohunice. Once Mochovce  unit 4 is complete, the country is expected to produce 70% of its electricity through nuclear energy.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News