Leak found in test at Slovakian nuclear power plant

Leak found in test at Slovakian nuclear power plant

The leak was found during testing at the Muchovce nuclear power plant in Slovakia. The affected reactor is due to come online in January.

A faulty seal was discovered during load tests at the new third block of the Slovakian nuclear power plant Mochovce. The gradual commissioning of the reactor, which has been underway since September, has therefore been disrupted, the operating company announced on Tuesday. A spokesman said a leak was noticed in a part of the reactor during the pressure test. There are no reports of radioactive material leaking. Once the seal is repaired, testing will continue next week.

The Mochovce 3 reactor block, completed only this year after several years of delay, was loaded with fuel rods for the first time in September. The first nuclear fission was started on 23 October. The reactor is due to come online in mid-January. Given the already long start-up phase, the operating company does not expect further delays due to necessary repairs.

The third reactor has been under construction since 2008.

The first steps towards construction of the third reactor were taken in 1987, but actual construction did not resume until 2008. More recently, objections from the Austrian environmental protection organization Global 2000 delayed the final operational permit. The Mochovce Nuclear Power Plant is located approximately 100 km east of Slovakia’s capital Bratislava and 150 km east of Vienna. In addition to the first two units in Mońćovce, which have been in operation for almost 20 years, Slovakia also operates two nuclear reactors at the Jaslovske Bohunice site.

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Just a month earlier a leak had been found at a French nuclear power plant. According to the operator, this happened in the primary cooling circuit. This reactor was also scheduled to come online in January.

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