Slovakia Postpones Nuclear Plant Restart Amidst Gas Crisis

January 15, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

Slovak Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek (R) talks with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico during a press conference on January 13, 2009 in Bratislava.    (Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images)
Slovak Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek (R) talks with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico during a press conference on January 13, 2009 in Bratislava. (Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images)
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia—The Slovak government on Jan. 13 postponed a final decision about restarting the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power plant. Prime Minister Robert Fico had previously announced the intention to restart the V1 reactor block, to prevent a suspected threat of total blackout due to failure of Russian gas supply.

The reactor was forced to shut down on Dec. 31, 2008, as one of the terms for Slovakia's entry to the European Union agreed on back in 2004. Re-launch preparations started after the government declared a state of emergency, saying that the gas shortage could cause a collapse of the electricity system. Premier Fico's decision had been criticized by some European countries, especially neighboring Austria.

Together with other countries in the Balkans, Slovakia is one of the most troubled by the current gas shortage crisis, since 98% of its natural gas deliveries came from the former Soviet Union. After Ukraine and Russia could not agree on gas prices in 2009, the dispute quickly developed to a total halt of Russian gas to Europe.

Under current conditions, Slovakia’s gas supplies will last for about another twelve days, while around 1,000 companies were already forced to operate under restrictions to save resources.

The Slovakian and Bulgarian Prime Ministers are meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Jan 14, in hopes of solving the crisis.