Bratislava, Feb 1 (CTK correspondent) - The third unit of Slovak nuclear power plant Mochovce started to supply electricity to the grid for the first time as part of its start-up, with the reactor at 20 percent of its capacity, Slovenske elektrarne (SE), the plant's operator, said today.
The first of the two turbine generators of the plant's unit 3 was connected to the grid late on Tuesday evening.
"The thermal energy released in the reactor is already being converted into electricity. This will help us to fulfil the agreement with the government in which Slovenske elektrarne committed itself to supply cheap electricity to households," said SE CEO Branislav Strycek.
In the coming weeks, the unit will undergo further tests as the reactor power is gradually increased. The whole process will be completed once the reactor is running at full capacity (471 megawatts) for 144 hours. The new unit will contribute to Slovakia's self-sufficiency in electricity production.
The permit to put the completed unit of Mochovce into operation was issued by the Slovak nuclear supervision authority last summer. Fuel loading was completed in September of the year.
The first stage of the reactor start-up, during which minor leaks appeared on the reactor unit, was completed by SE in January this year.
Two nuclear units have been in operation at Mochovce in southern Slovakia since the late 1990s. The completion of the entire plant has been significantly delayed compared to the original plans, and the costs have increased markedly as well. The fourth unit of the plant has not yet been completed. Under the original plan, units 3 and 4 were to be completed in 2012 and 2013.
SE, the largest electricity producer in Slovakia, is majority held by Italy's Enel and the energy group Energeticky a prumyslovy holding (EPH) of Czech entrepreneur Daniel Kretinsky. The Slovak government has a 34 percent stake in SE.