French electricity giant EDF keen to build nuclear plant in Slovakia

Monday, June 25, 2007

PRAGUE. JUNE 25. INTERFAX CENTRAL EUROPE - French state-owned electricity giant Electricite de France (EDF) is interested in building a new nuclear plant in Slovakia, a company vice president said Monday.

"We would like to participate in developing the electricity sector in Slovakia," EDF's international unit vice president of Marc Boudier said, as cited by Slovak news agency SITA. "We want to use our know-how and tools to develop new production capacities and so [help] ensure Slovakia's self-sufficiency."

Boudier was speaking following a meeting with Slovakia's leftist Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer).

Under an agreement with the European Commission signed by the previous center-right government, one unit at Jaslovske Bohunice's V1 reactor was shut down in 2006 and the second is due to close in 2008.

In February, Fico's government - which decried the reactor shutdowns as undermining Slovakia's energy security and independence - announced that Italian power utility Enel would build two new reactor blocks at the Mochovce nuclear power plant.

Enel has a 66% stake in Slovakia's dominant energy producer Slovenske Elektrarne (SE), which has a total of five reactors in Slovakia.

Fico's government wants SE to build Mochovce's third and fourth blocks to compensate for the closure of the V1 reactor block at the Jaslovske site.

The EU Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF), a group established in March by Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the aim of which is to re-launch discussion on nuclear energy in Europe, is due to convene in September or October this year, in Bratislava, upon agreement of Fico and his Czech counterpart Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democracts, ODS).

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