Rosatom is considering taking a stake in the joint venture proposing to build and operate a new nuclear power station at Slovakia's Bohunice site.
The joint venture - Jadrov? energetick? spolo?nos? Slovenska a.s. (JESS) - was formed in May 2009, with 51% owned by Slovakian state-owned nuclear and decommissioning company Javys and the remainder held by Czech utility CEZ.
Russian state nuclear enterprise Rosatom has now signed a memorandum with Javys and CEZ that will give it access to information about the current status of the project in order for it to decide whether or not to become a partner. With the signing of the memorandum, negotiations have also started on the possible sale of shares in JESS to Rosatom.
CEZ is seeking to reduce its share in the joint venture as its main priority is now the construction of two new reactors at its Temelin plant in neighbouring Czech Republic. It said that its participation in another large project is "very difficult." Local media reports suggest that CEZ may even sell its entire stake in the JESS joint venture.
Slovakia has four operating nuclear power reactors at the Bohunice and Mochovce sites, but was required to close down two older Bohunice reactors as a condition of its 2004 accession to the EU. Those units, collectively known as Bohunice V1, closed in 2006 and 2008. Meanwhile, a project was launched in November 2008 to complete work on the third and fourth units at Slovensk? Elektr?rne's Mochovce plant, which had begun in 1986 but stalled with the units incomplete in 1992. Both those units are scheduled to start up by the end of next year.
Plans for the new fifth Bohunice unit (also referred to as Bohunice V3) were announced in April 2008, with the government announcing the Javys-CEZ joint venture in December 2008.
Construction work on the new Bohunice plant could begin in 2014, CEZ said.