Russian Company Retains Contract to Supply Nuclear Fuel to Slovakia

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bratislava, 16 July: Russian open joint-stock company TVEL has maintained its position in Slovakia, having won the tender for the supply of nuclear fuel for five power-generating units of the local Mochovce and Bohunice nuclear power plants until 2015, management company Slovenskie Elektrarne has reported.

These plants were built to Russian design and equipped with VVER-440 reactors.

TVEL will also supply fuel for the third and fourth units of the Mochovce nuclear plant, which are being built, after they are put into operation.

"We are staying with TVEL. We have excellent experience of working with Russian producers of nuclear fuel," said the Slovenskie Elektrane press office.

The second participant in the tender American company Westinghouse expressed extreme disappointment with Slovakia's decision. In an interview with specialised publication Nuclear Fuel, a spokesman for the company said that Westinghouse will now have to leave the VVER-400 fuel market.

According to the spokesman, TVEL made Slovakia a more profitable offer, relying on the support of state corporation Rosatom, guaranteeing it access to inexpensive uranium and facilities for enrichment. Westinghouse does not have such competitive advantages.

Rosatom, in turn, told Interfax that fuel of the latest generation is being supplied and will be supplied to the Slovakian nuclear power stations.

"It is now a five-year fuel cycle and from next year it will be six-year (a full reloading of the reactor takes place once in six years Interfax), which will increase the operational efficiency of the fuel even more," the state corporation said.

Slovenskie Elektrarne operates all nuclear power stations in Slovakia. The controlling shareholder is Italian Enel (66 per cent), the rest is owned by the state.

Participation in the Slovakian tender was the only reason why Westinghouse had until now retained the line for production of fuel for VVER-440 at a factory in Sweden.

Finnish nuclear power station Loviisa previously rejected the American company's fuel for VVER-440, preferring the Russian supplier.

The TVEL corporation is one of the largest producers and suppliers in the world of nuclear fuel for energy and research reactors in Russia and abroad. TVEL fuel ensures the work of 17 per cent of nuclear power stations in the world. The company is a 100- per-cent subsidiary of open joint-stock company Atomenergoprom, where all civilian enterprises of the Russian Federation's atomic industry are consolidated.

Originally published by Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1611 16 Jul 08.

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