Mochovce-3 Reaches First Criticality

Mochovce-3 reactor reached minimum controlled output on 22 October, marking first criticality for the Russia-supplied 440 MW unit.

Utility Slovenske Elektrarne, which owns and operates Slovakia’s four commercial reactors, said Mochovce-3 should reach full capacity and begin commercial operation at the beginning of next year.

The company said that although a controlled fission chain reaction is now taking place in the reactor, the power is close to zero. Station director Martin Mráz said the first startup of the reactor involves “complex tests” during which all the characteristics of the reactor’s active zone are verified.

Slovakia operates four commercial nuclear reactors – two at Mochovce and two at Bohunice, which together generate 52.3% of the country’s electricity in 2021.

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Slovakia is adding significant clean generation capacity (942 MWe of which coming from new units at Mochovce) in pursuit of the European Union’s goals for emissions reductions for its member states.

Once operational, Slovenské elektráne said also that the generation from Mochovce-3 will cover about 13% of Slovakia’s total electricity consumption, increasing the share of nuclear energy in the total electricity mix from 52% to 65%, putting the country second behind only France.

Moreover, Mochovce-3 will immediately tip Slovakia’s energy balance back to an export footing. “After the start-up of Mochovce-3, the balance sheet character of the system will change from imports of 1.1% in 2020 to exports of 9.0%”, said last year the Slovak Ministry of Economy.