Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and top Gazprom and Nuclear Energy Ministry officials conferred in Moscow with Slovakia’s prime minister Vladimir Meciar. Meciar reaffirmed Slovakia’s "principled position to join NATO," at the same time opposing a redivision of Europe in the process of enlarging the Alliance. The sides signed agreements on mutual air and rail links, discussed Russian investments in Slovakia’s energy sector, considered plans to lay a pipeline across Slovakia for Russian gas exports to Western Europe, and decided to jointly complete Slovakia’s Mohovce nuclear power plant and upgrade the Jaslovske Bohunice NPP. (8)
The two NPPs are Soviet-era projects based on VVER 440 reactors, and have been criticized as unsafe in neighboring Austria and the Czech republic. Mohovce was intended to have four power-generating blocs. The first is 90 percent complete; the second 75 percent. Jaslovske Bohunice, fully operational with four generating blocs, needs upgrading and nuclear fuel supplies, which Russia has agreed to provide. Meciar’s visit illustrates the major role played by Russia’s fuel and energy complex in Russia’s current relations with its former East and Central European allies, to whom Moscow has little else to offer.
Bogomolov Deplores Russia’s Retreat From East-Central Europe.