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Slovakia to continue de-Russification of nuclear fuel

8 months ago 26

Slovakia plans to switch from Russian nuclear fuel to American and French, according to new Economy Minister Denisa Saková, despite previous criticism from the nationalists, as the French ambassador speaks of involving Slovak companies in the supply chain.

Slovak National Party leader Andrej Danko called the switch from Russian nuclear fuel a “fairytale” before the elections, adding that it is not as easy as changing oil in a car, but the new Slovak government is going ahead with the plan.

“Yes, this commitment is certainly there and not only from the Slovak Republic but also from the European Union,” Saková said, as reported by Denník N. Saková also said she discussed making the transition with the director of Slovenské elektrárne power plant.

The power plant announced plans to partner with US company Westinghouse in August. For now, Slovakia exclusively relies on Russian nuclear fuel, which is especially biting, as almost 60% of the energy it produces is atom-based.

The first US fuel deliveries should be made within a year, as they must first go through an approval process. The power plant also signed a memorandum of cooperation with French company Framatom.

French Ambassador Pascal le Deunff confirmed the French-Slovak plans in an interview with Euractiv Slovakia. “We are communicating with Slovak companies that could become part of the supply chain for the new nuclear fuel,” the Ambassador stressed.

He also added that the state-owned company Électricité de France – EDF, which manages French nuclear power plants, wants to cooperate with Slovakia to develop the entire nuclear ecosystem.

But one of the potential sticking points in constructing a new source is the storage of spent nuclear fuel. There is currently not a single fully operational deep repository in Europe. France has three surface repositories, but a deep repository is still in the design stage. It should accommodate all French-produced fuel.

As for cooperation with Slovakia on this issue, the ambassador said that “these are still initial talks with the Slovak side, not concrete solutions”.

(Barbara Zmušková, Irena Jenčová | Euractiv.sk)

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