You are here

Nuclear power plants in Slovakia and Austria: How and why nuclear stations differ in center of Europe

This topic is delightful for some people, for some people it is very alarming issue. The most powerful source of energy will appear in Belarus soon. It’s clear that we are talking about the Belarusian nuclear power plant. It has been recently presented in Austria. Our special correspondent Yana Shipko visited two power plants with completely different histories.

50 kilometers from Vienna. Zwentendorf. Here on the banks of the Danube stands the only nuclear power plant in Austria, and if you take into account its history, it is the only such in the world. Now time here is frozen in the 1970s.

Construction cost about $1 billion euros. But the station did not produce a kilowatt of power.

Stephan Zach, PR manager of an energy group (Austria):
Everything was ready, the reactor was filled with fuel cells and we were only to push a button to start the station.

The fate of the station was decided by a referendum. Why was it held after the construction? Well, this is the subject of self-irony of Austrians.

In 1978, due to the lack of information during the Cold War, the word "nuclear" was more associated with nuclear weapons, rather than with peaceful energy. The difference the for and against was less than 1%. 200 nuclear workers suddenly lost future.

Stephan Zach, PR manager of an energy group (Austria):
For them, it was a shock. They were training many years abroad for this responsible work and then no one needed their services. Many had to go to Germany and Switzerland.

There is no longer any nuclear fuel here, but you can often meet filmmakers here. This is a unique chance to get to premises where you normally would not get even in overalls.

Stephan Zach, PR manager of an energy group (Austria):
This condensation chamber would be filled with distilled water, and specialists would descend here to replace parts only in a diving suit.
And now we are at ground level, directly under the reactor.

After abandoning nuclear energy development Austria had to compensate for the political whim with the development of green energy. Billions of euros were invested in it.

It took Austria 30 years to become a leader for the production of "green energy". Renewable sources make up almost three-quarters of the energy balance. The choice is dictated by the nature itself: you can see many hydropower plants on the numerous rivers.

And now we are in the capital of Slovakia, near the walls of Bratislava Castle. And it offers a stunning view of the neighboring Austria. Let's go and see how the Slovak nuclear power plant works.

The territory is under special protection. It is forbidden to even fly over the complex.

The Mochovce nuclear power plant is literally on the doorstep but what do we see? Planted fields! It should be noted that the gentle autumn sun nourishes not only the future harvest, but also the small solar power station.

But solar panels are working more for green image.

Joseph Belan, Licensing Manager of an energy holding company (Slovakia):
In the energy mixed of Slovakia 15% is the energy of water, 53% is nuclear and 29% gas and coal.

For Slovakia, the development of nuclear energy is a matter of principle. Production of electricity depends on the peaceful atom more than by 50%.

In the near future two more reactors will be launched in Mochovce.

Joseph Belan, Licensing Manager of an energy holding company (Slovakia):
We will use a reactor similar in design to that in Belarus. But that will be an older model. It was developed in Russia in the 70s. The same work in the Czech Republic, Finland, for example. We will have an opportunity to increase the level of security.

Ladislav Ehn, Mayor of Kalna nad Hronom, chairman of the National Nuclear Fund Slovakia:
Nuclear power plants are large enterprises, which means high taxes. So we are very calm.
In our village, there is a stork's nest. Every year we wait, because it flies and then comes back. Hence, there is no negative impact.

Again we return to the Austrian capital. Experts from around the world flocked here to assess nuclear development in the world, including the NPP project of Belarus. Vienna hosted the 60th IAEA General Conference.

Erf Maillart, vice president of international energy projects of the company (France):
In Germany, the electricity price is twice as expensive, and they also buy energy from us. If you can build a nuclear power plant, you will not have to buy gas and coal in the international market. You can rely on our own energy resources.

The reactor is of the latest generation 3+.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA:
I saw the site of your future nuclear power station and was impressed by how much you have moved forward.

The only Belarusian in a managerial position in the IAEA, Elena Buglova, got here just at the time of the Fukushima tragedy.

During almost two months the center's specialists around the clock coordinated the liquidation of the consequences. They say they are ready to send an assistance mission at any time anywhere in the world, within hours.

Elena Buglova, head of the Incident and Emergency Centre of IAEA situations:
More than 200 people are constantly trained. A support group, a communication group in order to establish communication with the country where the accident occurred. We also have connection with international organizations.

Nuclear power plants in Slovakia and Austria: How and why nuclear stations differ in center of Europe