Nuclear Energy in the CEECs

  
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This article summarizes the current situation of Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) regarding electricity generated by nuclear energy, and analyses the implications of EU membership for the activity of existing nuclear power plants.


Number of nuclear reactors in service and quantity of electricity generated from nuclear power


(TWh and % of total electricity generated in 2001)

 

 


Reactors


N


Generation


TWh


Nuclear


%

BU

6

18.2

45

HU

4

14.2

40.6

LIT

2

8.4

73.7

CZ

5

13.6

20.1

ROU

1

5.1

10.9

SLK

6

16.5

53.4

SLV

1

4.5

37.4

Source : French Economic Departments

As shown in the table opposite, electricity from nuclear power plays an important role in five of the ten new members of the Union and in the two applicant countries. But their nuclear power stations differ both in age and technology:

 

  • Four of the reactors at the Kozloduy nuclear power station in Bulgaria, two of those at Bohunice (Slovakia) and both the reactors at Ignalina (Lithuania) are over 20 years old and are of the Soviet RMBK or VVER type. In the context of the negotiations for their accession to the EU, and although there is strictly speaking no acquis communautaire in the nuclear sector, the new member states and the candidate countries have committed themselves to closing down these reactors and will receive financial support to help them to do so, subject to the following conditions:
  • Lithuania:closure of reactor I at Ignalina before January 1 st 2005 and reactor II before December 31 st 2009. Financial aid of 285 Mio Euro has been allocated over the period 2004-2006, which will continue after 2006: the amount of the aid will be decided in the EU’s next financial projections.
  • Slovakia:closure of reactor I at Bohunice before December 31 st 2006 and reactor II before December 31 st 2008. Financial aid of € 90 M has been awarded to Slovakia between 2004-2006. It will continue beyond 2006.
  • Bulgaria:negotiations on the "energy" chapter of the acquis communautaire have been completed. After heated debates, the Bulgarian government has agreed to close reactors I and II at the Kozloduy power station in return for financial aid of 185 Mio Euro. It has also committed itself to closing reactors III and IV before December 31 st 2006. However, the latter decision remains highly controversial in Bulgaria

 

  • The other nuclear power stations in the area meet European safety standards. The nuclear power stations in Romania and Slovenia use Western technologies (Candu and Westinghouse respectively), and their maintenance benefits from the technical cooperation of large European companies (AREVA and Siemens).

 

  • The “nuclear” countries of Central and Eastern Europe are in favour of nuclear energy, and public opinion in Bulgaria and Lithuania has found it difficult to accept the closures imposed upon them as a condition of their present or future accession to the European Union. New nuclear programmes, to replace the power stations to be closed, have strong backing. In Lithuania, the construction of a new generation power station is currently being studied. In Slovakia, the completion of reactors III and IV at Mochovce is dependent upon the implication of a strategic investor. The Slovak authorities indicated recently that, in the privatisation of the electricity national operator SE, the owner of the Mochovce power station (a disposal which should take place before the end of this year) preference would be given to the bidder undertaking to complete these two reactors. In Bulgaria, the completion of the thermo-nuclear power station at Béléne, the construction of which stopped in 1990, is again on the agenda, the feasibility study having been entrusted to the American company Parsons. In Romania, work on the second phase of Cernavoda should be completed in 2007. A third is envisaged by 2010.

For more analyses, see theenlargement website of DREE.  
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