(Adds further comment from Enel)
BRATISLAVA Dec 19 Enel wants more
cash and more time to build two new units at the Mochovce
nuclear plant in Slovakia, the country's prime minister said,
describing the Italian utility's demands as "unacceptable".
Prime Minister Robert Fico, in power since April, said the
Italian company wanted an extra 800 million euros ($1.1 billion)
and expected construction work to go on for another 22 months.
Mochovce, operated by Slovak power company Slovenske
Elektrarne, was originally expected to start commercial
operation of the first new reactor by the end of this year and
the next one in 2013.
Enel has a 66 percent stake in Slovenske Elektrarne, while
the government holds the remaining 34 percent.
In March Enel pushed back the start of the third Mochovce
unit to the end of 2013, while the fourth unit was supposed to
follow eight months later.
Fico said the government had instructed its representatives
on the board of Slovenske Elektrarne to object to Enel's call
for additional funds, adding the economy ministry would draft a
study by mid-January on the completion of Mochovce.
"(The) Italian investor keeps asking for more money, there
is a proposal to boost costs of completion of the third and
fourth blocs by around 800 million euros, which is absolutely
unacceptable," Fico told reporters after a government meeting.
Enel said: "Slovenske Elektrarne is fully covering the costs
associated with the design modifications and improvements with
its own sources, and will not request any additional money from
the state budget."
The Milan-based utility cited the need to meet significant
international safety measures brought in after the March 2011
Fukushima disaster in Japan as key reasons for the delay at
Mochovce, with costs originally estimated at 2.8 billion euros.
"Given the complexity of the new upgraded design of the
reactors in Mochovce, the necessity to reorganize industrial
infrastructure and the results of the EU's stress tests, the
project had to be rescheduled," it added in an emailed
Slovenske Elektrarne already operates two units at Mochovce
and another two at its Jaslovske Bohunice power plant, with a
total 1,950 megawatts of installed capacity.
In January all four nuclear reactors in Slovakia passed
so-called stress tests against potential severe accidents,
earthquakes, floods and other extreme events.
The analysis followed the Fukushima disaster, which spurred
the European Union to mandate safety tests of its 143 reactors.
($1 = 0.7568 euro)
(Reporting by Martin Santa; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)