Slovak generator launches nuclear plant tender

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

BRATISLAVA, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Slovak power firm Slovenske Elektrarne (SE) has launched a tender to find a builder to finish two new blocks at the Mochovce nuclear power plant, it said in the Official Journal of the European Union on Monday.

The power generator, managed by Italian utility and 66 percent shareholder Enel, said bidders should submit letters of interest by Sept 18. It said it expected final bids would be due on Dec 8.

Construction works at Mochovce's third and fourth blocks are expected to start on April 1, 2009 and finish by the end of June 2011.

Work on the blocs originally began in 1987, but stopped in 1992. The construction tender will not include techincal aspects of the blocks, but will entail finishing buildings, digging water canals, and handling the cooling and air conditioning.

Prime Minister Robert Fico said this month his cabinet was worried Slovenske Elektrarne (SE) may be late in finishing Mochovce, the newer of Slovakia's two nuclear power plants, and that a delay could damage the economy .

Fico stepped up pressure on utilities over energy costs last week -- he has run a campaign to prevent them from raising prices -- and warned their western owners he may expropriate their property if they overcharged customers.

Fico asked SE to present a detailed timetable of work on the two 440 MW blocks at Mochovce. The work, which will also include the provision of reactors and other techincal aspects, should be completed in 2012-2013 at a cost of 1.6 billion euros.

SE Chief Executive Paolo Ruzzini said in August the company was making every effort so Mochovce would be completed in 2012 and 2013 as planned.

Slovakia depends heavily on nuclear energy. Its two plants produced 57 percent of its electricity in 2007.

The small central European country has shut down one block and will have to close another unit at the older, Soviet-style nuclear power plant at Jaslovske Bohunice, which was a condition in the Bratislava's accession to the European Union.
(Reporting by Martin Santa; Editing by Andrew Callus)

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