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Foreign Investors Interested in Second N-Plant Reactor

Ljubljana, 11 October (STA) - The company which owns the Slovenian half of the Krsko Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) is in talks with potential foreign investors willing to fund the construction of a second reactor, its boss revealed.

Martin Tovsak, the head of state-owned Gen Energija, told Monday's edition of daily Delo that the state would probably not have enough money to fund the second reactor at NEK, valued at EUR 3-5bn, and a new generator at the Sostanj coal-fired power plant (TES), worth EUR 1bn-plus, at the same time.

"We have been discussing NEK 2 with potential co-investors. Twelve European companies are currently interested, in particular energy firms from the neighbourhood. Finland's Fortum has also expressed interest," Novsak said.

"This indicates that NEK 2 would have very positive effects. It could certainly become a regionally interesting project," Novsak pointed out.

With plans afoot across Europe to build new N-plants or extend the useful lives of existing installations, Novsak said every facility must be built for the long term considering the market within a 500 km radius.

He suggested Slovenia would have to hurry up. "If Italians build the planned N-plants it's the same as if we did it, the difference being that we would not exert control or make money...It is better if Slovenia is first, but we're gonna have to decide fast," he said.

The NEK 2 project is proceeding apace, Novsak said. A request for an energy permit has been submitted and Novsak hopes the project will be part of the National Energy Programme, slated for passage in parliament later this year or early in 2011.

"There was virtually nothing in the National Energy Programme about the project, but this will supposedly change now," he said.

The existing 696 MW Westinghouse reactor in Krsko was launched in January 1983. It has an 18-month overhaul cycle and is due for shutdown in 2023, but the NEK management has already applied for a 20-year extension.

According to plans, the second reactor would run at 1,000 or 1,600 MW with a 20-day overhaul every two years and a life-span of 60 years. It would be completed between 2020 and 2025.

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