Slovenia will make a decision by 2027 at the latest on whether to build a second nuclear power plant at its existing Krško site, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec has said during a visit to the plant site on 22 May. The minister also called for an immediate start on the construction of a storage facility for low and intermediate level radioactive waste and for changes to legislation to speed up infrastructure projects.
“Nuclear energy provides us with safe and reliable energy with low impacts on the environment,” Vrtovec said during the working visit to state-owned power company GEN Energija and Nuklearna Elektrarna Krško (NEK). He said the “excellent and safe” operation of Slovenia’s nuclear facilities would guide the Ministry’s considerations, but added that economic and other analyses would be carried out before a decision is made.
Vrtovec also called for the “earliest possible” start on construction of a storage facility for low and intermediate level radioactive waste in Vrbina. This had been due to begin in 2017, but has been delayed due to the time taken in obtaining environmental consent and cross-border environmental impact assessments. The state must not allow projects to “drag on” for an unreasonably long time, he said, and called for changes to legislation to enable the procedures for locating all infrastructure projects to be speeded up.
NEK Chairman Stanislav Rožman said the company was pleased that all concerned were working together to meet the preconditions for the long-term operation of the existing Krško plant, one of which is the construction of the repository. All projects related to the safety upgrade at the plant are proceeding according to plan, he said.
Krško, a 696 MWe pressurised water reactor, is Slovenia’s only nuclear power plant and generated around 36% of Slovenia’s electricity in 2018. The plant, which is co-owned by neighbouring Croatia, began commercial operation in 1981, and a 20-year extension to its initial 40-year operational lifetime was confirmed in mid-2015. GEN Energija incorporates the Slovenian stake in joint Slovene-Croat company NEK, which owns and operates the plant.
Source: World Nuclear News