Slovak decommissioning fund finances electricity transmission upgrades

By Axel  Reiserer

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The Slovak Republic has taken a major step in strengthening its energy supply, with the construction of a new overhead transmission line and the upgrade and extension of three existing substations thanks to the Bohunice International Decommissioning Support Fund (BIDSF).

The projects, successfully delivered on schedule and within budget, will minimise the impact of the closure of units 1 and 2 of the Bohunice nuclear power plant and improve the efficiency of energy supply and use in the Slovak Republic.

Managed by electricity transmission system operator Slovenská Elektrizačná Prenosová Sústava (SEPS), the projects include a €40 million 440 kilovolt overhead transmission line with a length of 90 kilometres, and a €15 million upgrade and extension of three substations in Bystričany, Horná Ždaňa and Križovany in the western and central Slovak Republic.

The EBRD manages the decommissioning support fund that financed the work. This was completed on budget and, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, five months ahead of schedule.

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The BIDSF was established in 2001 to support the Slovak Republic with the decommissioning of units 1 and 2 of the Bohunice nuclear power plant. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) manages the fund and has received donor contributions from the European Commission, as well as Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Visiting the completed projects, Steven White, EBRD Head of BIDSF in the Nuclear Safety Department, said: “These projects provide the Slovak Republic with a modern, upgraded transmission system that ensures that consumers have a reliable, safe and stable supply of electricity now and in the future.”

Jean-Philippe Guisset, Head of the Nuclear Decommissioning Sector at the European Commission, added: “The implementation was swift and overcame the technical and managerial challenges that inevitably confront such large projects. The result is a safer, better interconnected electricity grid with the European Union, a necessary condition for the clean energy transition.”

SEPS Project Manager Monika Božíková noted: “The projects not only helped to mitigate the negative effects of the decommissioning of units 1 and 2, but also increased the reliability of the electricity supply in the region. They also contributed to an increase in transmission capacity and the strengthening of the entire power transmission grid of the Slovak Republic. We would like to express our thanks to the European Union and the other donors for their contribution to the financing of this project.”

The EBRD is the only international financial institution with the capacity and know-how to manage nuclear decommissioning funds. The Bank currently manages seven donor funds supporting nuclear safety and security in the regions where it operates. A key task is the decommissioning of Soviet-era nuclear facilities and equipment.

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