A number of countries in central, eastern and southeastern Europe plan to build new nuclear power reactors or extend the life of existing ones to meet growing domestic demand and replace ageing power capacity.
The plans mirror a worldwide nuclear boom as part of the solution to climate change.
Following are key facts on major projects:
The country, which suffers chronic power shortages, said in May it wanted to develop nuclear power generation and was ready to invite Italians to build a plant on its soil.
Italian power utility Enel has said it is looking into nuclear opportunities in Albania.
The Balkan country, where nuclear energy supplies about 40% of all power, plans a new 2,000 megawatt (MW) nuclear power plant by 2013-14.
It has contracted Russia’s Atomstroyexport, along with France’s Areva and Germany’s Siemens, to build the plant in a €4.0 billion deal.
Sofia has yet to pick a strategic investor for 49% of the plant between Germany’s RWE and Belgium’s Electrabel, owned by French utility Suez.
Power group ČEZ has unveiled a preliminary plan to build two new units of 3,400MW at its Temelin nuclear power plant. The country already relies on nuclear for about 30% of its electricity.
The centre-right government, in which the Green Party is a junior member, has pledged not to approve construction of new nuclear power stations before its term ends in 2010.
The country has one nuclear generator with 1,860MW of capacity, supplying about 37% of electricity.
Their lifetime will begin to run out in 2012. All major political parties have approved a 20-year lifetime extension.
In 2006 and 2007, press reports surfaced that big Western European power firms were considering building a new nuclear generator in Hungary but no specific plans had emerged.
The Baltic country, which relies on nuclear for 70% of its electricity, is still in the planning stages of a new 3,200-3,400MW plant estimated to cost $9 billion. It is expected to be ready in 2015-18.
Poland and the other two Baltic states, Latvia and Estonia, are negotiating plans to build the new plant, which will replace the Soviet-era Ignalina plant that Lithuania is obliged to shut down by the end of next year.
Lithuania’s parliament voted in July to hold a non-binding referendum on extending the life of Ignalina.
Poland, seeking to lessen its dependence on Russian energy, plans to back Lithuania’s nuclear plant project.
Some officials, including Economy Minister Waldemar Pawlak, have said Poland should consider building a nuclear power plant in the future to help reduce its near-complete reliance on coal for energy.
The Balkan country, whose two nuclear reactors at the Cernavoda plant accounted for 13% of all power in 2007, plans two more reactors, each 706MW, at the same site by 2015.
Candidates to build the two new reactors include Electrabel, Enel, Spain’s Iberdrola, ČEZ, a Romanian unit of Arcelor Mittal and RWE. The investment is estimated at around €2.2 billion.
Romania is also considering building another new plant with capacity of between 2,000 and 2,400MW, whose first unit could come on line after 2020.
Nuclear energy contributed for 57% of Slovakia’s electricity in 2007.
Dominant power company Slovenske Elektrarne (SE) SE, controlled by Enel, aims to complete two new blocks, each with a power capacity of 440MW, at the Mochovce plant by 2013.
The state plans construction of a single 1,100-1,200MW block or two new 600MW blocks at the Bohunice site by 2025, worth an estimated €3 billion.
A new 1,200MW nuclear plant, expected to cost €3.5 billion, is being considered in eastern Slovakia for after the shutdown of younger Bohunice blocks, expected in 2025.
Ankara passed a law last year to allow for the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power reactors. Turkey, which is facing an energy shortfall, has set a September 24 deadline for bids to build the nuclear power plant.
The country plans three nuclear plants with a total production capacity of 5,000MW. (Reuters)
Sources: The International Atomic Energy Agency, (www.iaea.org); Slovenske Elektrarne (www.seas.sk), World Nuclear Association (www.world-nuclear.org).