(Adds PM quote, background)
BRATISLAVA, July 10 (Reuters) - Slovak utility Slovenske Elektrarne’s new unit 3 at the Mochovce nuclear power plant will be delayed slightly but will be operational in the second quarter of 2019, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said on Tuesday.
Pellegrini told a news conference after visiting the plant that the construction cost estimate of 5.4 billion euros ($6.33 billion) remains unchanged and that shareholder Enel would provide a 700 million euro loan to help with financing.
Italian group Enel owns Slovenske Elektrarne along with the Slovak state and Czech energy group EPH.
Any further delays will be unacceptable, Pellegrini said, adding: “We all hope the third unit will be launched in the second quarter of 2019.”
The fourth block is due to be finished a year later and Pellegrini said the shareholder loan would help to cover construction costs but does not reflect a cost increase.
The construction of two 470 megawatt units at Mochovce, which already operates two reactors, has suffered several delays and cost overruns. It was originally slated to launch in 2012 at a cost of 2.8 billion euros.
EPH and Enel jointly own 66 percent of Slovenske Elektrarne, with the Czech group having an option to buy out its Italian partner once Mochovce is completed. ($1 = 0.8537 euros) (Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova Editing by Jason Hovet and David Goodman)