UPDATE 1-Enel, Slovakia to release $345 mln for nuclear project

Thu Aug 1, 2013 9:21am EDT

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PRAGUE Aug 1 (Reuters) - The Slovak government and utility Enel, which are wrangling over the budget for two new reactors at the Mochovce nuclear power plant, have agreed to release 260 million euros ($345.2 million) to pay suppliers to the project.

Slovenske Elektrarne, 66 percent-owned by Italy's Enel and the rest by the state, wants an extra 800 million euros on top of the 3 billion already allocated for the project. It said in May the government had rejected its request for extra funding, potentially putting the project at risk.

"Both shareholders ... approved the urgent amendments to contracts with the main suppliers for a total amount up to 260 million euros," an Enel spokesman said on Thursday.

"This decision was taken in order to ensure the continuation of the most urgent completion works of the project. thus avoiding significant damages for the company."

The project is euro-zone member Slovakia's largest private investment and one of the few nuclear projects moving forward in Europe following the Fukushima disaster and a sharp drop in wholesale electricity prices.

The two reactors, with a combined capacity of 880 megawatts, are expected to start up in 2014 and 2015, two years behind schedule.

Slovenske Elektrarne already operates two units at Mochovce and another two at its Jaslovske Bohunice power plant, with a total installed capacity of 1,950 MW.

($1 = 0.7531 euros) (Reporting by Michael Kahn,; Editing by Jan Lopatka and Jane Baird)

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