Public participation in nuclear projects

The Czech Republic is slowly becoming the Atomic state. Although many countries decided to reduce their nuclear programs, the Czech Republic has plans to build new nuclear blocks (in spite of the fact that nobody knows how and who will finance it) and to prolong the operation of the old ones.

Above that the nuclear lobby (including the State Office of the Nuclear Safety – SONS) try to reduce the public participation in all nuclear projects (nuclear waste deep depository, construction of new nuclear blocks, prolongation of the operation of old nuclear blocks – PLEX) as much as possible.

Implementation amendment of the EIA Act – EIA process becomes more and more formal

Unfortunately, this amendment is one that means a restriction on the public participation in permitting of nuclear facilities under the Nuclear Act. The Nuclear Act has been dropped from the list of associated procedures. Ultimately, this means that judicial defence will be impossible in proceedings following an EIA process made in accordance with the Nuclear Act. Unfortunately, there is no way to appeal against the EIA process as such. Moreover, the authority will not be bound by EIA position statement requirements when permitting the location of a nuclear facility. The amendment has been pushed by the State Office for Nuclear Safety.

PLEX – no chance for the public participation

It is really absurd situation if the public has no chance to participace in PLEX procedure. The longer the operation will be the stronger influence on the environment off course will be. In spite of this fact the EIA Act do not permit to assess PLEX.

The Czech NGOs and international NGOs as well try to change this. At the national level South Bohemian Mothers Association are fighting to become the participant of PLEX of the second nuclear block in Dukovany NPP. Our comlaint is now at the Municipal Court in Prague and we are waiting for their decision. If they rejected our complaint then our next step will be the appeal to the Supreme Court and then (if necessary) the appeal to the Constitutional Court. The next steps (if needed) will be legal steps at the international level similar as we have done together with other international NGOs OEKOBUERO, Global 2000 and Aarhus – Convention Initiative last October. We put the complaint to the ESPOO Aarhus Committee in Geneva concerning the public participation in Dukovany permission (there are permissions from the year 2007 when operator asked for the new licence for next 10 years operation).

Considering how the permit for continued operation of the old nuclear blocks of Dukovany NPP has been issued for the operator this year, it is more than obvious that enforcing public control is very important: the Dukovany nuclear power plant (JEDU) is operated in a condition that does not conform to the state of the art in science and technology (thin walls of the reactor building, location of the spent fuel pool, no containment, only a so-called barbotage systém) and it does not take into account relevant new information about risks, such as cyberattacks. The entire permit does not contain a single mention that the nuclear power plant is secured against the increasing risk of cyberattacks. In spite of all above mentioned facts SONS (the entire process involves the operator only and the decision is made by SONS) gave the decision to continue operation of Unit 2 for the operator for an indefinite period of time. The decision specifies a number of requirements that the operator has to meet in future. This is an absolutely absurd situation, because many of the requirements should have been met a long time ago, and the Office should have issued the permit only based on their meeting. They include a solution to the issue of resistance of the superaccident supply pumping station, the spent fuel pool cooling system, and the important technical water system. We think that it is irresponsible to operate this obsolete nuclear power plant for another 10 years in a time of realistic danger of a terrorist attack, or to consider operating it for 60 years.

Do you want information from CEZ company? Bad luck!

In July 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that the mostly state-owned energy giant ČEZ does not have to provide information according to the Act on Free Access to Information, because publication of contracts and other information might harm the business of ČEZ. A 2016 ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court stated that ČEZ must not keep information secret but the Constitutional Court has an opposite view. Constitutional Court also added that the problem it has created with its ruling can be rectified easily. It should be done by a law that will define exactly what is a public institution, which has an obligation to provide information by law. That list could include ČEZ. Nevertheless, it is not clear when such a law will be passed.

Welcome in the Atomic state!  🙁



Nuclear issues in the Czech Republic, as of December 2019

Monika Wittingerová Dec 2019 

Spent nuclear waste storage

Work on site selection is delayed, but the Ministry of Industry and Trade keeps insisting on rash decision-making. Municipalities therefore request a postponement of this decision-making until the passing of an act of law that would grant municipalities the position of an equal participant in the process.

Municipalities associated in the Platform Against the Deep Repository sent their comments on the bill of the law to the Ministry of Industry and Trade in September. In their opinion, the bill needs rewriting so as to meet the requirements of Atomic Act and the Euratom Directive on respecting the interests of affected municipalities and effective public participation in the decision-making concerning the repository. They include, above all, inclusion of the necessary municipal consent before the commencement of specific proceedings (as it is, the municipalities are mere “spear carriers”). Another logical requirement of the municipalities is to postpone the next steps in the repository selection process until the act enters force. According to Minister of Industry Karel Havlíček, the selection of four sites out of nine is to be made by mid 2020, but the new act will not be in force until then. However, the selection should proceed in accordance with the new legislative rules.

Any change in the time milestones for the deep repository site selection process is a national procedure, which does not have to be consulted with and approved by the European Commission in advance.  It is enough to report any changes as part of the periodic reports under the Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Management Directive.

It still holds, however, that the short-listing of the selection from nine to four sites should be made before mid 2020.

Construction of new nuclear units

The Czech Republic is still not giving up on its nuclear dreams. Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček declares that Czechia will not have sufficient electricity in future without the newly built nuclear power plants. In his words, problems may arise as soon as after 2030. In his opinion, the planned construction of the new unit at the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant will not be enough, and construction at Temelín has to be anticipated. The Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant received a positive environmental impact assessment (EIA) from the Ministry of the Environment in late August, despite the fact that the whole process showed serious shortcomings, such as failure to assess impacts of a beyond-design-basis event, failure to assess impacts of storage of spent nuclear fuel, etc.

The tender for the construction of a new nuclear unit will be announced as soon as the applicable agreement between the Government and ČEZ is clear. In his words, the target is to conclude the agreement by the end of the year, so that the tender preparation can start next year. Both the construction and funding should be arranged by a subsidiary, and the agreements should contain terms and conditions of project security by the State.

Current Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is a great advocate of construction of new nuclear units. Among other things, he has said: “We’re behind the times with nuclear. We could have started building Temelín. We must push this through. Even if that means violating European law.”
In his opinion, it is necessary to emphasise at European meetings related to climate policy that nuclear power is a clean source. Along with Minister Havlíček, he wants to push through an EU-level exemption from European Union rules for public support to new reactors. The first preliminary meetings were held in November.

When promoting construction of new nuclear units, the Czech governmental representatives brag about climate protection. Do they take climate protection seriously, though? The recent developments in the House of Representatives attests to the contrary. The November session passed a motion by an ANO representative on an amendment to the Energy Efficiency Act, which practically revokes the current obligation of operators of old coal power plants to invest in efficiency increases when refurbishing. It was passed mainly due to the positive attitude of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. In practice, the amendment means an advantage for coat tycoon Pavel Tykač, who strives to extend the service life of the Chvaletice power plant and wants to avoid investments in efficiency increases; it will also be an advantage for the Počerady coal power plant, which Tykač is planning to buy from ČEZ and then extend its operation.

Moreover, the Czech Prime Minister is resorting to practices reminiscent of blackmailing: the Prime Minister wants to exchange his approval to European struggle against climate change for money and more facilitated nuclear power development. In his words, the only way that the Czech Republic can meet its climate commitments is expansion in nuclear power plants. He is therefore going to demand that the other states of the Union agree to slacken the rules for state aid to construction of nuclear units. Thus, Czechia may well block the targets for the struggle against climate change.

Coal Commission

The nineteen-headed commission, set up in July, will meet every month; the chairpersons are Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec (ANO) and Minister of Trade and Industry Karel Havlíček (ANO).

The commission should publish a recommendation next year on when the Czech Republic ought to get rid of its coal dependence definitively and what to replace its coal power plants with. However, there is as yet no consensus on the year when this crucial step should be taken.

An integral component of the commission’s output will be recommendations of specific amendments to legislation and social and economic solutions particularly for regions where coal is mined and combusted on a large scale.   The coal industry is entering a crisis. A particular risk is the decreasing numbers of emission permits, which may increase their price up to twofold in the coming years. Electricity generation using high-emission coal could thus become so expensive that coal mining would no longer be profitable. Thus, a coal mining phase-out may occur even without declaring a national coal phase-out plan. The whole economic calculation may additionally be affected by the carbon tax. Germany is planning it, Czechia is not for the time being.

Monika Wittingerová May 2019 

New nuclear reactors

The Czech Republic is still not giving up its plans for construction of new nuclear units. The financing matters are still not clear, though. A Governmental Committee for Nuclear Power has been established for this purpose, to deal with issues relating to construction and financing of new nuclear units. Since March 2019, the Committee has new members: Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has become its chairman instead the Minister of Industry and Trade. Jaroslav Míl has been the government proxy for nuclear power since February, replacing Ján Štuller. The government changed the statutes of the Committee after Míl’s admission. It results in the shocking information that the Committee outcomes are considered novel, and thus inaccessible until a Government Decision.

The Committee consists of more than 20 members: in addition to some ministers, they include CEO of ČEZ Daniel Beneš, Chairman of ČEZ Supervisory Board Otakar Hora, and Chairwoman of the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SONS) Dana Drábová. Seven posts were offered to the opposition.

Government representatives are now trying to resolve unclarities regarding financing of the construction of new nuclear units by having a subsidiary of ČEZ financing the construction, with the state guaranteeing the investment as the second instance. According to the nuclear proxy Míl, the state would make two contracts with ČEZ this year: the first one, a framework agreement, would be signed in the summer, and the other, dealing with the unit construction preparation including the tender, by the end of 2019.

Michal Šnobr, the representative of minority shareholders, does not see this solution as positive in respect of both minor shareholders and taxpayers. He thinks the second-rank guarantee by the state only covers the risk that ČEZ may go bankrupt in future, becoming unable to repay the bank credit.

The contractor tender should commence in late 2020 or in 2021, and should last no longer than three years. The first stage of project planning will culminate in 2024, when the government will receive the tender results, the project will be given the SONS nuclear facility location permit and a zoning decision in force.

In early April, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš dismissed Minister of Industry and Trade Marta Nováková (ANO). Karel Havlíček (ANO) was appointed to the office. The attitude to nuclear power does not change with his arrival, as follows from his recent statement: “Everything connected with nuclear power and the future energy policy is simply a priority today, and everything has to be laid aside and we simply have to find a way to make it happen… At least some 50, or probably 60 or a few more percent will be within the meaning of nuclear.” 

Uranium mining issues

Although it may seem at first sight that uranium mining in the Czech Republic is over for good, some steps by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the state enterprise DIAMO indicate that it may not be the case in future.

For example, the paper “Information on the progress of works assessing deposits of mineral resources” indicates the following:

  • a plan for expansion of the Stráž pod Ralskem protected deposit area has been developed for a part of the original Holičky deposit. However, the Holičky deposit in the North Bohemian Chalk Basin cannot be extracted by mining, only using acid leaching.

  • DIAMO continues its efforts to expand the Brzkov – Horní Věžnice protected deposit area for uranium mining; further steps depend on the attitude of the Ministry of the Environment. The concerned municipalities – Brzkov, Věžnice, Polná and Přibyslav – disapprove of the plan sharply.

  • DIAMO is developing a paper titled “Assessment of usability of residual deposits and proposal for resurveying the Rožná deposit”.

This information is alarming. It is not only in terms of the environment but also finance – we have paid CZK 44.7 billion for remediation of damage caused by uranium mining and processing, and an additional CZK 60 billion still remain to be expended on the remediation.

Coal Committee of the Czech Republic

A new Coal Committee should be set up in the Czech Republic after the German model. Minister of the environment Richard Brabec (ANO) would like to establish it by midyear. The Committee should become an advisory body to the Government. It should discuss the possibilities of a transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy and nuclear. The actual staffing of the Committee is not yet known, but it should be a broad group of experts, scientists, managers, politicians and non-governmental organisations. Among other things, the Committee should cooperate on the drafting of the amendment to the State Energy Policy, to take place next year.

Deep repository for spent nuclear fuel

By the end of the last year, the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA) was supposed to decide about reduction of the shortlisted sites from nine to four. That did not happen, however. The Board requested a completion of the submitted materials with geophysical data, based on which the reduction in the number of sites should have been made.

RAWRA Director Jiří Slovák was also dismissed in February. He was replaced in the office by Jan Prachař, who had headed the authority in 2011 to 2014.    

 The whole process will thus be delayed again as it has been several times, probably by another year. The new Director wants to wait for the results of the geophysical survey in progress, and wants more communication with the nine municipalities affected by the selection process. A special act of law should also be passed, empowering involvement of municipalities in the repository selection.

The State’s steps in searching for the repository has long been criticised by the Platform Against the Deep Repository, associating 32 municipalities and 14 citizens’ associations. The Platform is reserved about the change in the RAWRA management. The change of the heads of the Repository Authority gives them some chance that the organisation might act more openly towards them and communicate better with them. However, the experience they have had makes them cagey rather than too optimistic.

The final repository site should be selected in 2025. It is not clear, however, if the schedule will be adhered to given the present situation.


South Bohemian Mothers have regularly attended the Environmental Education and Awareness

Raising Conference organised by Cassiopeia Environmental Education Centre in České Budějovice.

The Conference is intended for primary and secondary school teachers, who will learn what is new in the area of supply of programmes and events focused on environmental awareness raising.In the last three years, South Bohemian Mothers have presented their activities that it offers for schools as part of its projects.They include, above all, lectures and debates on risks of utilisation of nuclear power, utilisation of renewable sources of energy, and an additional installation of the Energy for Future exhibition and a quiz with prizes.We also offer schools education programmes in which students can learn, by way of interactive games, about the issues of energy policy planning domestically and abroad, opportunities for public participation in the process, and the Czech Republic’s approach to the search for its deep repository.We have also informed the teachers about our Chernobylfest festival, which we have organised for several years.Thanks to our presentation at the Conference, we have approached a large number of schools, some of which showed interest in our events.This year, we have approached the teachers at the Conference by distributing an information leaflet containing the full information about our events for schools.We have published the leaflet thanks to the support of Danube Region Nuclear Free.

Monika Wittingerová Nov.23.2018

Czech Republic Update

Search for deep repository

It still holds that the number of sites should be reduced from nine to four this year.  However, the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority intends to use for this selection results of geological surveys obtained at survey sites whose validity was revoked by court. In October, the court revoked the fifth and sixth decisions in a row concerning survey sites, namely for the Čertovka site at the frontier between Plzeň and Ústí nad Labem Regions, and the Hrádek site in Jihlava District. The main reason that led the court to revoke the survey sites in those and other areas was that the Ministry of the Environment had not considered the public interest of inhabitants of the selected municipalities, thus affirming the procedures of the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority. A total of 18 municipalities and 6 associations in seven sites filed actions against the decision of the Ministry of the Environment. In addition to the two above, the court also revoked the survey sites at Březový potok in the Šumava Foothills, Horka and Kraví hora in Vysočina Region, and Magdaléna in Tábor District. Only one of the actions failed, namely Čihadlo in Jindřichův Hradec District, but the local municipalities and associations appealed against the ruling.

That does not mean, however, that the repository will be built at these sites; the government has a timetable that is still in force and applicable.

Works on searching for the deep repository site continue, but in a way that is very far from a fair approach. Inhabitants of municipalities in the sites selected for the search for a repository for highly radioactive waste face concealment of information by the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority. The Authority has not permitted the municipalities to read documents based on which they are to be selected. Mayors of the seven original sites have not received the promised final reports summarising results of geological works near the concerned municipalities. Said reports have been given to mayors at the new sites near Dukovany and Temelín, but the reports miss important sections, such as an environmental impact assessment.

Construction of new nuclear units

The situation concerning planning of construction of new nuclear units changes from day to day. The time to decide is running short, though: the government intends to make the decision on the project financing method by the end of the year. After that, a tender should be opened within the next 12 months, and start of construction is planned within 10 years.
In mid October, the Minister of Industry and Trade stated that the government will have participate in the construction of new nuclear units in the Czech Republic in some way, ideally as the second guarantor after ČEZ. With respect to the minority shareholders, who own about 30 percent in ČEZ, the company will either have to agree with them or detach a unit to deal with nuclear.

Shortly afterwards, the Minister of Industry expressed her opinion that the Government may postpone the decision on new unit construction. According to her, more thinking time can be gained by extending the lifetime of existing units at Dukovany. The Government could decide about the issue later on in connection to developments on the energy market and new technologies. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš also dealt with ČEZ along these lines. This would ultimately require an update to the existing energy strategy.

According to Dana Drábová, Chairwoman of the State Office for Nuclear Safety, the ability to extend the lifetime of existing nuclear units by ten more years depends on the technical condition of the power plant, which will have to guarantee potential continued safe operation. To obtain permission to continue the operation, ČEZ would have to prove that the units continue meet safety requirements. However, this procedure is opposed by Vítězslav Jonáš, Chairman of Energetické Třebíčsko association and former mayor of Dukovany, who supports the new unit construction. According to him, any postponement of the decision about the construction is unacceptable for people in the Dukovany region and, moreover, endangers the CR’s energy security. Vysočina Regional Authority has also protested strongly against the procedure. According to the Authority, it would contravene the State Energy Strategy of the Czech Republic and the National Action Plan derived from that.
The Prime Minister has changed his mind again now: the new unit of the Dukovany nuclear power plant should be built by the subsidiary of ČEZ that operates the power plant. According to the Prime Minister, the state is ready to support the investment by being the second guarantor.

 Monika Wittingerová Nov.23.2018

Monika Wittingerová, 14.09.2018

Construction of new nuclear units

The financing of the new nuclear unit construction should be decided by the end of this year. Meetings with the European Commission on public aid for the construction should follow after that. There are 3 different options at present. The first is to establish a 100% subsidiary of ČEZ, which would be composed of the assets of Dukovany and Temelín nuclear power plants. The second assumes construction by a 100% subsidiary of ČEZ which could receive an external investor. The last option is construction of the units by a company fully owned by the State.

Several companies will participate in the tender; the State approached six some time ago: Russian Rosatom, US Westinghouse, Chinese CGN Group, South Korean KHNP, French-Japanese consortium Atmea, and French Areva. Rosatom is increasingly the clear favourite.

Deep repository for spent nuclear fuel

Two more sites were added last year to the seven where decisions about geological surveys are being made. Both are at the Temelín and Dukovany Nuclear Power Plants, Temelín being the favourite: the site was partially surveyed before the power plant construction started and, moreover, the population does not show as much resistance as at the other sites. The pre-selected area covering approximately 23 square kilometres is situated southeast of Temelín and spans the cadastral zones of Temelín, Olešník, Dříteň and Hluboká nad Vltavou.   The RAWRA is planning an evaluation of results from surveys at the nine sites in the course of the latter half of 2018, and recommend four of them to the Government for shortlisting based on the evaluation. After approval by the Government, more detailed geological surveys will be made at the sites.

However, the position of municipalities concerned by the search for the site for the deep repository remains still the same. The reason is that, by the end of June, in spite of promises and even a Government Resolution, the former Minister of Industry and Trade failed to present to the Government a bill on involvement of municipalities in the deep repository site selection process. The Platform Against the Deep Repository criticised the approach in June. The Platform now associates 44 members – 31 concerned municipalities and 13 civic associations – so is represents a significant portion of the inhabitants of sites selected for the final repository.

Legal analyses have shown that nether municipalities nor the public do not have many options for defending their inhabitants’ interests against the State in the case of an exceptional project such as a deep repository for highly radioactive waste, which will significantly affect the region’s population’s lives practically forever. In addition, Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM requires that the public have the possibility of effective participation in decision-making relating to management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. The passing of said bill could have improved the situation. That did not happen, however.

Situation in ČEZ

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš got a cardinal influence on the functioning of ČEZ at its general meeting in June. A quarter of the Supervisory Board was altered at the motion of the Ministry of Finance. The Finance department, controlled by ANO, now has a majority in it. For example, the Supervisory Board decides on the composition of the Board of Directors, and so has an influence on the election of the CEO. Thus, the motion to split the power utility giant ČEZ into two companies is now unfeasible. ČEZ management has tried to convince politicians that the State should fully own the nuclear, coal, mining and trading sections of “old ČEZ”. That company would complete Dukovany. “New ČEZ” would then encompass distribution, sales, renewables and energy services. Shareholders would acquire a 49% share in the latter. However, Prime Minister Babiš has opposed this in the past, and now that he has controlled the General Assembly, the proposal to split ČEZ will not be feasible.

Czech Nuclear Association

The new Czech Nuclear Association was established by energy experts in July. The Association wants to support and promote completion of the units at the Temelín and Dukovany Nuclear Power Plants. Its members will defend nuclear power as a part of a balanced energy mix for the Czech Republic. Representatives of the Association believe that nuclear brings energy security and stability for future. According to them, renewable sources of energy themselves cannot provide and guarantee energy security, self-sufficiency and stability.

Monika Wittingerová  10.5.2018

New nuclear reactors

The majority of MPs at the Czech Parliament are for constructing nuclear reactors. The remaining problem is financing, though.

The final decision on the construction of a new nuclear unit at Dukovany, which is the main issue, will not be made before 2025.  The managing board for nuclear energy will decide in mid May on which investor model for construction it will recommend to the Government as the most suitable. The Ministry of Industry and Trade will have the decision reviewed by the consultancy PwC.
  However, a more detailed option for the financing of the Dukovany construction will only be decided by another expert group, which will be controlled directly by the Prime Minister.

As for the utility ČEZ, there are talks about splitting it in two, similar to Germany’s energy giants RWE and E.ON. The part covering coal-fired and nuclear power plants should be fully owned by the State. That might make it easy to push for the construction of new reactors, to which minority shareholders are opposed.

Deep repository for spent nuclear fuel

At present, the Platform Against the Deep Repository associates 36 members (24 municipalities and 12 citizens’ associations), in order to promote a method of searching for a solution to the spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste problem that will be open, transparent and in which municipalities and the public will have adequately legally guaranteed capacities to defend their legitimate interests.

The Platform reaps partial success: The Municipal Court in Prague has ruled on additional legal actions by municipalities and citizens’ associations regarding the validity of survey sites for geological works for the search for a deep repository. With a ruling of 26 March, it revoked the decision by the Minister of the Environment for the sites Březový potok in the Šumava Foothills and Magdaléna near Tábor. A month ago, another senate of the same court similarly revoked decisions on delineation of survey areas on the sites Kraví hora and Horka in Vysočina Region. Conversely, the legal action relating to the survey area Čihadlo near Jindřichův Hradec failed. Rulings are still being awaited over actions against delineation of the survey areas Čertovka and Hrádek. A total of 18 municipalities and 6 associations filed actions against the decision of the Minister of the Environment. The successful rulings question the applicability of results of the geological surveys made, as they were acquired based on illegal decisions.
The RAWRA announced for this year the selection of 4 sites on which it is going to continue geological works in the coming years, including deep boreholes. However, it has now begun to file applications with the Ministry of the Environment aiming to obtain new survey areas on 9 sites with a validity until 2025. Due to appeals raised by municipalities and actions filed by associations, the delineation of survey areas has become a complicated legal case. That is why the RAWRA is now filing new applications for all the sites and will negotiate with the concerned municipalities. Municipalities that refuse the deep repository in their territory thus now have practically the last chance to defend their citizens’ interests as proceeding parties before the final site is selected. The situation might be changed by the act on involvement of municipalities in repository selection, which has been promised since 2012 but whose passing is not in sight.

Modernisation of Temelín NPP

ČEZ is going to invest CZK 900 million in modernisation of the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant this year. It involves 60 investment projects covering modernisation, boosting of safety and increases in output.

Legal action against SONS procedure in permitting location of Temelín 3 and 4

The Supreme Administrative Court has granted the cassation complaint by South Bohemian Mothers, Citizen Initiative for Environmental Protection and Calla.
The Municipal Court first rejected the associations’ action in 2015 on process grounds, and dismissed it for illegitimacy last year. The SAC has revoked both verdicts.
The associations’ action was aimed against the decision of the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SONS) on permitting the location of the planned third and fourth units of the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant. The organisations criticised both the SONS’ process errors when issuing the permit, and its failure to accept requirements of the EIA position statement.

According to the action, the Ministry of the Environment failed to properly handle objections by non-governmental organisations. However, the action was formally aimed against the subsequent SONS decision, as the Czech legislation does not allow its earlier filing.

Update from the Czech Republic – as of 15.1.2018

by Monika Wittingerová

Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant

The State Office for Nuclear Safety has issued permits for continued operation of units 3 and 4 of Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant. It has issued these permits for an indefinite period of time. The decisions entered into force on 1 January 2018.

Radioactive waste storage, deep repository

The Czech Republic will spend CZK 1.7 billion on development of a deep repository for nuclear waste in the next three years. The earmarked money involves expenditures on survey works, research and contributions to municipalities in selected areas. Four areas are to be shortlisted for final selection in 2018.

The Czech Republic is also dealing with the question whether the money on the “nuclear account”, to be used for construction and operation of the deep repository, is accumulating fast enough. The costs of construction and then operation of the repository are estimated at CZK 110 billion; the account is currently holding CZK 25.4 billion. The construction will not start for another more than 30 years, but the question is whether the money on the account will suffice. The Czech government sees construction of new nuclear units as the solution. The not entirely clear future of new nuclear power plants will play a crucial role in whether the nuclear account will show a deficit of tens of billions in future.

 The reasons is that the amount paid by ČEZ to the nuclear account every year is derived from the amount of electricity generated in Temelín and Dukovany reactors. ČEZ has to pay CZK 55 per megawatt hour. If new nuclear units are built in the CR, it would mean more spent fuel, thus the need for a much larger and more expensive repository. On the other hand, the costs of a larger repository and longer resulting operation will not increase the price that much, and fees from the electricity generated in the new nuclear units would cover them.

Situation in ČEZ

Minority shareholders of the utility ČEZ are demanding an extraordinary general assembly meeting. It should be held in the first half of this year, before the regular general assembly meeting, which is held in June every year. The primary reason is the debate about the method of funding of the planned new unit at the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant. If ČEZ alone was to pay for the construction, the minority shareholders would be harmed by decreasing prices of the company’s shares.

Situation in the Czech Republic – as of 31.10.2017

by Monika Wittingerová

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Resources Policy

The Government passed an updated Resources Policy in June. It has confirmed the maintenance of the brown coal mining limits at the ČSA strip mine and the overall phase-out of brown coal as the main energy resource. Although the Policy rejects plans for accelerated preparation for opening a uranium mine at Brzkov in the Vysočina Region, it still counts with uranium mining in the longer run. That said, uranium mining and processing so far have left behind massive environmental damage worth dozens of billions of crowns to be paid by tax payers.

Lithium and uranium mining

The Government passed the paper “Report on necessity to assure the state’s economic interests in the area of utilisation of critical EU superstrategic resources and certain other resources” in October. The paper shows an effort to maintain the domestic uranium industry with significant state support despite the fact that uranium mining in the Czech Republic has been discontinued. Although the name of the paper suggests that it deals mainly with lithium, so much discussed by politicians, in reality it promotes a return to last-century resources instead of resources for the 21st century.

New nuclear units

ČEZ or the state should be the investor of the new unit at Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant. There are three viable financing options; the Government should decide on the final one next spring.

Spent nuclear fuel repository

The Radioactive Waste Repository Administration has decided to carry out geophysical and other surveys on sites preselected for the deep repository despite the fact that the validity of survey areas delineated for that purpose expired at the end of 2016. The Platform Against the Deep Repository has therefore addressed Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec with an open letter requesting an explanation why his ministry is letting the RAWRA carry out geological surveys on sites for which the survey permits have expired.

Access to information

In July, the Constitutional Court ruled that the company ČEZ, largely state-owned, does not have to provide information pursuant to the Act on Free Access to Information, because publication of contracts and other information might harm the business of ČEZ.

New facts about earthquakes in the Czech Republic

The area that is now West Bohemia was hit historically by at least two earthquakes that are completely out of scale of historic tables. Scientists from the Institute of Rock Structure and Mechanics of the Academy of Sciences have discovered this. Their research outcomes will probably be reflected in building standards sooner or later. Based on their calculations, the first one occurred probably between 1134 and 192 BCE, in the period of proto-Celtic or Celtic civilisation in Bohemia. The other one is more precisely defined in time: it occurred between 792 and 1020 CE. It might have been felt by contemporaries of Great Moravian or Přemyslid princes, maybe even Saint Wenceslas. According to this research, the earlier of the quakes probably had a magnitude of 6.5 or 6.6; the latter one around 6.3 or 6.5. When earthquakes are mentioned in the Czech Republic, attention typically turns to key large structures in the country such as river dams and nuclear power plants. Temelín and Dukovany, for example, are safely resistant to tremors up to a magnitude of 5.5. This is less than the tremors detected in Mariánské Lázně District, but then both power plants are located in a much less seismically active area.

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Current information from the Czech Republic – as of 1.6.2017

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Prospecting for a deep repository site

In early April, the Platform Against the Deep Repository turned to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and asked him to halt the current haphazard repository location process. The Platform is convinced that necessary rules and legal guarantees have to be agreed and consolidated first. As a consequence of errors on the part of the RAWRA, the survey sites for geological surveys in the shortlisted areas do not exist anymore, and all the necessary surveys have not been carried out by far. Still, the RAWRA is going to select sites for further and deeper geological works in 2018 based on only partial data. However, that clearly casts doubt on the geological and associated safety criteria for the repository selection. The government’s steps raise not only mistrust in the procedure transparency, but also uncertainty whether the site found will guarantee maximum possible safety for many hundred thousand years. The Ministry of Industry has failed to explain the law, promised for many years, to define involvement of municipalities in the repository selection process, to its government partners, and its development has been postponed to a date far beyond the election.

Raw Material Policy

In May, the Ministry of Industry and Trade forwarded the modified draft Raw Material Policy to the Government. The original draft Raw Material Policy explicitly envisaged future mining of the Brzkov – Horní Věžnice deposit; there were some partial modifications to the draft in light of comments raised in the SEA process (Strategic Environmental Assessment), but unfortunately they are not sufficient. The presented draft anticipates the capacity to make surveys of uranium deposits, not only at the Brzkov – Horní Věžnice site but all around the Czech Republic. The draft even admits the capacity to expand protected deposit areas based on the surveys; pursuant to legislation in force, this would take place without participation of local self-governing units and concerned property owners. Local citizens point out that such a design of a proposal to exploit uranium deposits in the Czech Republic allows mining companies to take steps towards future mining excluding local self-governing units and concerned property owners. Moreover, access to the Czech Republic’s resource wealth will be left up to the deliberation of mining companies, because a mining company is given a first option to extract the deposit by conducting a survey of the deposit.

New Minister of Industry and Trade and new Minister of Finance

Jiří Havlíček has been newly appointed to head the Ministry of Industry and Trade; Ivan Pilný to head the Ministry of Finance. The latter promised to “get the nuclear power plant moving”. He promised to develop paperwork for the next government to make a decision on the new nuclear unit. He deems is necessary because Dukovany will reach the end of its life cycle after 2035.

New nuclear units at Dukovany

A special committee set up by the Vysočina Region will supervise the planning of the construction of the fifth unit of Dukovany nuclear power plant. The team will feature all the political clubs, applicable institutions and professional associations, and representatives of the South Moravian Region have been invited as well. The committee’s task will be to discuss the process of planning and approving of the new unit construction at least in the coming years. The Vysočina Region shows long-term support to the construction, and this initiative is another step with which the Vysočina Region’s leaders are actively involved in processes aimed at not only expanding but also extending of the life cycle of the existing nuclear units at Dukovany.

Uranium mining termination

Uranium mining in the Czech Republic was terminated in April by stopping operation at Rožná uranium mine.  Uranium had been mined for 60 years at Rožná. Uranium ore extraction and processing in the Czech Republic generally left behind large-scale damage. Since 1989, the country has had to spend over 40 billion CZK on their remediation, and another 60 billion still remain to be spent. The Government committed itself to pay 31.3 billion CZK for elimination of consequences of chemical leaching at Stráž pod Ralskem alone in the next thirty years.

Separation of ČEZ

Two options are in play at present: establishing a company only concerned with the planned construction of new nuclear units at Dukovany and Temelín. Due to the uncertainty in the power industry, this is a risky investment, and minority shareholders would disagree if ČEZ itself was going to build the reactors.  Last year already, ČEZ designated specialised companies for design work for the construction of the new units at both sites, and shifted assets to them.

The other option is to separate a state-owned company that would do activities related to the existing Temelín and Dukovany Nuclear Power Plants in addition to the future reactors. However, company CEO Daniel Beneš says no company splitting project is currently ready and these are only contemplations on how to handle the shareholders’ contradictory objectives.

Nevertheless, ČEZ management decided in May about the establishment of a new nuclear division, with current nuclear power plant director Bohdan Zronek as its head. Among his objectives, he has mentioned simplification of procedures, completion of changes in the area of maintenance arrangements, and last but not least, he would like to search for synergies between the country’s existing and potential new sources.

Jan Kruml is to substitute for Bohdan Zronek as Director of Temelín NPP.


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Diashow  Tschern.-

Monika Wittingerova: Summary of legal steps taken with the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SONS)

Line 1: Issue of participation in proceedings

1 September 2016: Filed a general application for information about initiated proceedings pursuant to Section 70 of Act no. 114 on Nature and Landscape Protection,

5 January: Registration for proceeding on extension of operation of Dukovany Unit 2 as proceeding party (proceeding initiated 2 January),

2 February: SONS refused us as a proceeding party,

15 February: We filed a protest against the refusal to the SONS,

No decision has been made on the protest so far.

Further steps:

If our protest is rejected, we will bring an action to the Municipal Court in Prague; if that is rejected as well, we will make a cassation appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court; if that is rejected as well, we will make a constitutional appeal to the Constitutional Court.

The further steps depend on the amount of money that we manage to obtain.

Line 2: Contestation of decision to extend operation of Unit 2 for factual reasons

The decision to extend operation has not been made yet. The further steps depend on the amount of money that we manage to obtain.

News from the Czech Republic – as of 10.3.2017   Monika Wittingerová

Power generation at JETE and JEDU in 2016

Deep repository

Construction of new nuclear units

Separation of ČEZ

Raw Material Policy

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Power generation at JETE and JEDU in 2016

Temelín Nuclear Power Plant generated in the last year 12.1 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, which is almost two TWh less than in 2015.
Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant only supplied 11.95 TWh of electricity to the grid in the last year. In comparison with 2015, its production decreased 5 percent. Last year’s production at Dukovany was in fact the lowest in 28 years since the socialist year 1988. The reason was the frequent shutdowns due to problems with counterfeit weld photographs.

Deep repository

The platform against the deep repository has grown with more municipalities. It now associates 33 members: 22 concerned self-governments and 11 citizens’ associations aiming to promote a method of searching for a solution to the problem that will be open, transparent and in which municipalities and the public will have adequately legally guaranteed capacities to defend their legitimate interests. 
Although there is agreement that a clearer and stronger position of municipalities should be defined by a new Act, the Nuclear Act refers to it and its specific proposals have been discussed for five years, it is now again out of sight after the Government’s January decision to postpone the development of the bill to June 2018. In practice, this means that in 2018, when the Government plans to select sites for the next round of geological surveying with deep boring, municipalities will have no other chances to influence the selection than they have today.

In early March, the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) accepted the arguments of the concerned municipalities and involved associations, and decided that applications to extent the validity of survey sites for geological surveys for the deep repository in all the seven sites by a period of two years are groundless, and discontinued the proceedings in progress.  The reason is that the validity of the delineated survey sites had expired on 31 December 2016 and there is thus nothing to extend. Therefore, the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA) is no longer allowed to do any of the geological works previously permitted on the sites after 1 January 2017.  However, even the permits whose validity expired at the end of 2016 had been issued in contravention of the law, which is why 18 municipalities and 6 associations took legal action against this decision of Minister of the Environment Brabec. It has not been resolved to this day.
The objective of the works had been “preliminary estimate of size of homogenous rock blocks, preliminary proof of safety of the hypothetical repository and its technical feasibility”. Without these data, the Repository Authority will not be able to credibly select sites for further surveys by 2018, as originally planned.

Construction of new nuclear units

Consultation with applicants interested in building new nuclear units in the Czech Republic took place in February. They included Atmea (French-Japanese venture), CGN (China), EDF (France), KHNP (Korea), Rosatom (Russia) and Westinghouse (USA).

All the six players indicated that they can hardly imagine such a big project without a role being played by the government. This governmental role may take on different forms. But the main message is clear: a project to construct a nuclear reactor seems to everyone to be hardly feasible without government involvement. According to Ján Štuler, government liaison for nuclear power, a proposal for financing the construction of the new units should be developed by May this year. By the end of October or November, an analysis of impacts of the potential construction of new nuclear sources on ČEZ minority shareholders should be made.

The Czech Republic is not currently considering inspiration by Hungary, which agreed on construction of new nuclear reactors directly with Russia’s Rosatom without a tender. According to the current plan, the applicant for construction of the nuclear reactors will be selected in a conventional tender.

Separation of ČEZ

The company ČEZ will probably be given a brand new structure. Daniel Beneš, company director, is not yet willing to disclose the actual nature of any detailed changes. He has only indicated that ČEZ might split into several companies, one of which would be 100% state-owned. That company could then pursue construction of new nuclear units.

Raw Material Policy

A public hearing of the updated Raw Material Policy took place at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) in Prague in early February. Even before the public hearing, some environmental organisations and mayors of some municipalities raised objections against the Raw Material Policy. The objections concerned the proposal to mine for uranium ore, for example, at Brzkov – Věžnice. The paper originally presented for the public hearing absolutely did not assess any impacts of such activity on the environment and humans. At the public hearing, MoIT representatives declared that uranium mining at Brzkov – Věžnice is no longer being considered. The paper had therefore been updated so that it no longer contains the activity. However, the paper says that the government should use legislative instruments to carefully protect uranium deposits (both Brzkov and North Bohemian Cretaceous) for potential future uranium mining.  That is certainly a positive fact. However, there will be efforts in future to delineate protected ore deposit areas for uranium where there are none, and the Mining Act permits that without participation of municipalities and any concerned owners of land and properties.  Once this Raw Material Policy is passed, it will tear down the barrier for MoE preventing it from issuing permits for delineation of uranium survey areas, which will then turn into protected ore deposit areas.

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Situation in the nuclear energy industry as of …. December 2016

Dec.20th 2016  Monika Wittingerova

Prospecting for a deep repository site

Implementation amendment of the EIA Act

Construction of new nuclear units

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Prospecting for a deep repository site

The platform against the repository established by municipalities and associations dissatisfied with the government procedure on prospecting for the deep repository site has 28 members already. The official Working group for the repository dialogue is falling apart. The latest ones to abandon it have been representatives of the Green Circle Association of Environmental Organisations. The reason for their departure, and not only theirs, is the attitude of the authorities in charge, which has made the work in the group pointless. At the same time, the Green Circle has asked the Minister of Industry and Trade to initiate an earnest dialogue between the government and the concerned municipalities. The original list of seven sites has been expanded with two more: a site by the Temelín NPP and a site by the Dukovany NPP. There, the authorities are expecting more responsiveness among the local population.

Implementation amendment of the EIA Act

Unfortunately, this amendment is one that means a restriction on the public participation in permitting of nuclear facilities under the Nuclear Act. The Nuclear Act has been dropped from the list of associated procedures. Ultimately, this means that judicial defence will be impossible in proceedings following an EIA process made in accordance with the Nuclear Act. Unfortunately, there is no way to appeal against the EIA process as such. Moreover, the authority will not be bound by EIA position statement requirements when permitting the location of a nuclear facility. The amendment has been pushed by the State Office for Nuclear Safety.

Construction of new nuclear units

According to ČEZ, it would be easier to build the new nuclear unit in the Czech Republic by way of an intergovernmental agreement rather than a tender. Hungary has employed a similar method, when it agreed in late 2014 on an expansion to its Paks nuclear power plant with the Russian company Rosatom without a tender. Minister of Industry Jan Mládek has said that the Czech Republic is not ready for a similar procedure yet. However, he admitted that this procedure is theoretically possible.

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The Czech republic wants new nuclear blocks without knowing who will pay and what to do with nuclear waste.

dsc_2622-01-web dsc_2620-01-web

The Czech republic is planning to build new nuclear blocks. The problem is money – this is still unsolved question who will pay for the construction – maybe some state company (= tax payers).

The T shirt is with the text: You will pay for the new Temelin too! 

Another problem is unsolved question concerning nuclear waste – the Czech republic still do not have the place for building end storage for the spent fuel – we even do not have place where the pregeological surveys can start! That is why we also show the paper with: What about the nuclear waste?

The place where we have made photo is the exhibition Accelerating science about CERN in Budweis where Temelin make their own PR action – big screen with temelin nuclear reactor in front of which people can make photos….

Monika Wittingerová []  Dec.5th 2016

Situation in the nuclear energy industry as of 18th October 2016 

by Monika Wittingerová

Prospecting for a deep repository site

Prospecting for a deep repository site

Preparation for construction of new nuclear units

Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant

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Prospecting for a deep repository site

Municipalities and associations concerned by the preparation of the deep repository for spent nuclear fuel are dissatisfied with the Government’s procedure, acting from a power position. They have therefore established a Platform Against the Deep Repository.  Their objective is to promote a method of searching for a solution to the problem that will be open, transparent and in which municipalities and the public will have adequately legally guaranteed capacities to defend their legitimate interests. At present, the Platform has 25 members and will promote primarily an open debate of the problem of handling spent nuclear fuel and various options for its solution. The Platform also wants to halt the prospecting works in progress. The reason is that the survey areas on the seven sites have been defined in contravention of opinions of municipalities and their citizens.

Preparation for construction of new nuclear units

In June, the Government ruled that the Ministry of Industry and Trade can approach companies with a questionnaire concerning the technical specification and price of nuclear reactors for potential construction of new nuclear units. Minister Mládek is going to approach the following companies:

Areva NP/Electricité de France, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, Westinghouse Electric Company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Atmea, Korea Electric Power Corporation, China General Nuclear Power Corporation, State Nuclear Power Technology Company, China National Nuclear Corporation.

Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant

The preparation for the construction of the new nuclear unit at Dukovany is delayed three to four years, if it is going to be completed by 2035, when the existing Dukovany units are scheduled to cease working. Through the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Government has approached companies (see above), and based on information from these companies, the Government should consider financing the new nuclear unit.
The National Action Plan for Development of Nuclear Energy expects construction of new units in both Dukovany and Temelín, but the final decision on a specific project has not been made yet. Dukovany is the priority.
The authorities have started to examine the environmental impact of the potential construction by request of ČEZ. The Dukovany Power Plant has four nuclear units, commissioned in 1985-1987. Their total installed capacity is 2040 MW. ČEZ wants to keep them in operation at least until 2035. For the new unit at Dukovany to be able to start generating electricity by then, it would have to receive a building permit around the year 2025. To manage all that in time, some legislation would have to be modified – some steps could be taken simultaneously, and partial duplication could be eliminated in others. The proposals should be developed by the working group of the Standing Committee for Nuclear Energy.

Nuclear Act
A new Nuclear Act was passed in July. Unfortunately, it retains the limited participation in proceedings on location of nuclear facilities only for the applicant, and limited liability for nuclear damage.

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News from the Czech Republic – as of 15 June 2016      by Monika Wittingerová

Preparation for construction of new nuclear units

Preparation for construction of deep nuclear repository

Preparation for construction of new nuclear units at Dukovany

Atomic Act

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Preparation for construction of new nuclear units

The energy utility ČEZ will split the projects for planning and construction of the new nuclear sources in both the country’s nuclear power plants at Dukovany and Temelín into separate subsidiaries. The decision to establish them was passed by the board of directors of the semi-state-owned company in October last year, and the company’s general assembly approved the plan last Friday. They will be fully integrated subsidiaries that will use services of ČEZ Group units. In June last year, the Government passed the National Action Plan for the Development of the Nuclear Energy Sector in the Czech Republic. It expects the construction of one nuclear unit at Dukovany and one at Temelín, with the option to expand to two units in each power plant. However, the commercial and contractor model of the construction is yet to be decided. The Czech Republic now have the new “nuclear commissioner” – Jan Štuller – the former head of the State Office for the Nuclear Safety.

Preparation for construction of deep nuclear repository

The municipalities of Cejle, Hojkov, Milíčov, Nový Rychnov and Rohozná and the civic associations 2. alternativa, Bezjaderná vysočina and Čistá Rohozná around the site known as Hrádek in Jihlava district have decided to withdraw their representatives from the Working Group on Dialogue on the Deep Repository and to discontinue participation in its work. They followed in the tracks of representatives of the municipalities from the Březový potok site in Plzeň district, who even dismissed the association’s chairman. Continued functioning of the Working Group has thus been given a serious notch. The establishment of the Group, involving representatives of municipalities and associations from seven sites, representatives of state agencies in charge and experts, was officially justified by the intention to promote transparency in the process of searching for the deep repository for highly radioactive waste and better set the rules for the repository search. None of that has happened: the Group has become a tool for the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA) to persuade municipalities into approving surveys and future construction. The Authority has ignored expert opinions of the geologist, responses from municipalities bound by local referenda, and failed to fulfil the decisions of the Working Group as a whole, which are binding for it. Representatives of municipalities and associations in the Working Group actually only helped RAWRA make up false alibi of ostensible communication with the public. Both municipalities and associations have sent their objections in the form of an open letter to the Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek (see attachment).

Preparation for construction of new nuclear units at Dukovany

Prime Minister Sobotka is promising the construction of Unit 5 at Dukovany. However, the Czech Republic does not even have a government commissioner and it is not known when the EIA process will start either. The association Energetické Třebíčsko, which feels that the entire region will experience a socioeconomic collapse if the new nuclear units are not built (although the study that the association has commissioned does not prove it clearly), has already had a foundation stone made from local gneiss and carved in it the inscription “This foundation stone is donated by the region for the construction of a new nuclear source”. It symbolises the joint effort of the region to maintain the continued operation of the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant. However, Prime Minister Sobotka has cooled down the association’s nuclear enthusiasm by declaring that he recommends postponing the handing over of the rock to a later date due to the current degree of completion of the Updated State Energy Policy and the National Action Plan. Moreover, the nuclear enthusiasm in the region is far from united. A local referendum in the municipality of Slavětice has shown that people have critical comments on construction of new nuclear units and would only approve of their construction if the government compensates them for the degraded state of the environment.

Atomic Act

The Members of the Parliament passed the new Atomic Act on 27 May. Unfortunately, we failed to push through an increase in liability for nuclear damage. Moreover, the nuclear lobby has unfortunately managed to reduce the levies to the nuclear account from the proposed ceiling of CZK 80 per MWh to a mere CZK 55 per MWh (compared to the CZK 50 today).

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Kerzenaktion Prag 25.4.16

Chernobyl Film Festival

The Chernobyl Film Festival took place on the 25th of April 2016 in the Aero Cinema in Prague (from 9:00 till 17:00). There were four films screened during the festival:

1. The Chernobyl Heart (director Maryann DeLeo)
2.Chernobyl Forever (director Alain de Halleux)
3. Welcome to Fukushima (director Alain de Halleux)
4. Holidays in Chernobyl (director Petr Nesnídal)

We invited special guests for the two discussion during this festival: Alain de Halleux from Belgium (director of two above mentioned films) and Julia Aiubova and Vladyslav Rusakov from Ukraine (young musicians from the Asphalt music group which are very interested in this topic) and the photographer Václav Vašků.

We invited young people from secondary schools, general public and journalists to this festival. More then 250 people have visited our festival. Information concerning this event were broadcasted in Czech Radio, interview with Václav Vašků (czech photographer who has visited chernobyl area several times and who was the film Holidays in Chernobyl about) was broadcasted in Czech Television, interview with Julia Aiubova and Vladyslav Rusakov were published in the newspapers Lidové noviny. We have also created special web pages and the Facebook profile Černobylfest (, which was and still is visited very often.

In the evening we organized the commemorative happening at the Václavské Square in Prague to remember victims of Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents. This action were organized within Action weeks activities organized by the IBB Institute in Dortmund (these happenings are organized in many european cities). As a guests Alain de Halleux and Julia Aiubova, Vladyslav Rusakov and Václav Vašků took part too. Some of the young people who visited our film festival also participated.


 News from the nuclear energy industry in the Czech Republic – as of 29 February 2016

by Monika Wittingerová

Prospecting for deep repository site

Old-new Nuclear Act

Situation at Temelín NPP badly reminiscent of that at Dukovany NPP

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Prospecting for deep repository site

The geological surveys to verify the suitability of the selected sites will be carried out by the Radioactive Waste Repository Administration (RAWRA). They were supposed to start in 2015, but have been delayed on year eventually. They will concern all the seven sites (Čertovka, Březový potok, Magdaléna, Čihadlo, Hrádek, Horka and Kraví hora) and last for two years. Then the work will be assessed, including the public opinion, which will be surveyed using a questionnaire. Four suitable sites will be selected at the end, and then the last two will be shortlisted, where deep bores will be made.

The municipalities are also debating the money that the RAWRA is going to send to the concerned sites. Some of the municipalities (such as Jistebnice) have decided to include this contribution directly in their budgets and use it to cover necessary investment. However, other municipalities regard the money as a form of bribery and intend to save it in a “side” account, from which they would fund activities opposing the surveys, legal services, consultations with experts, etc.
Old-new Nuclear Act

Three committees of the Chamber of Deputies were discussing the New Nuclear Act bill on 4th February. Their respective deputies had received comments from Calla association, joined by other environmental organisations and thus becoming comments of the Green Circle Association of Environmental Organisations. They concern an increase in the liability of operators of nuclear facilities for nuclear damage and empowerment of the public in proceedings.

According to the deputies of the Committee for Public Administration and Regional Development, it is money that needs boosting, not people’s rights.

The Environmental Committee passed two amending motions consisting in adding a section to refer to a new act (only to be drawn) defining procedures for locating the repository while respecting interests of municipalities.

The Environmental Committee passed a resolution asking the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) to present a bill of law, by the end of 2016, on engagement of municipalities in the selection of the site for the deep repository for highly radioactive waste. An MIT representative has confirmed that the agency will proceed in this way and present the bill in the section form by the end of the year. That will open up a chance of the bill being passed by the Parliament.

The Economic Committee is only preparing to pass a similar cover resolution, but has not embraced any of the proposals in favour of the public.

Situation at Temelín NPP badly reminiscent of that at Dukovany NPP

Photographs of welds have been forged at the Temelín NPP as well. The inspections there were also carried out by Tediko. According to Dana Drábová, Chairwoman of the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SONS), several thousand welds will have to be re-photographed, but unlike at Dukovany, a number of things can be done during normal operation, and no forged photos have been identified of welds that would require a shutdown of the units.

ČEZ has drawn a plan to prevent such things recurring in future: for example, by authenticating employees’ qualifications, reviewing the contractor system, and using of subsidiaries in power plant maintenance. Two reports of crimes have been filed because of the photo troubles: one by ČEZ, the other by the SONS. The ČEZ investigating committee is also dealing with the issue. Despite these alarming findings, SONS is not intending to change its inspection system in any way… According to Dana Drábová, the problem is with the system of contractors’ contractors and contractors’ subcontractors, which may consist of three or four layers in some cases. She says it is very difficult to check the quality of a contractor at the fourth level of the chain. Dana Drábová has also suggested that ČEZ itself may be behind the pressure to manipulate the photographs.

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Monika Wittingerová:  News from the nuclear energy industry in the Czech Republic – as of 30 January 2016

New nuclear units with questions

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The governmental energy policy assumes that the share of nuclear in electricity generation could increase to 50 per cent in 2040 after the construction of the two new nuclearpower plant units. It is not clear, however, under what circumstances the new units should be built. The new governmental committee for nuclear energy should decide on it; it will coordinate nuclear development in the Czech Republic. Its establishment is the first step to start searching for a strategic partner for construction of the new nuclear units. The committee should provide the government with a specific list of requirements for the strategic partner and construction financing options by the end of this year. The nuclear committee will include deputies from all the concerned ministries: industry, finance, foreign affairs, the environment and regional development. Dana Drábová of the State Office for Nuclear Safety should be a member too. The Minister of Industry should head the committee. The government is simultaneously looking for a new proxy for nuclear energy. It is not clear so far who this will be.

Old-new Nuclear Act

The Czech Republic is going to amend its Nuclear Act. Unfortunately, the proposed amendment has several shortcomings: for example, it retains the limited liability for nuclear damage at CZK 8 billion. The proposed amendment also retains the unequal status of municipalities in prospecting for sites for the deep spent nuclear fuel repository.

Thanks to the active effort of CALLA association, it has been agreed that this issue will be discussed not only in the Economic Committee of the House of Representatives (which is the guarantor for this issue) but also in the Environmental Committee and the Public Administration and Regional Development Committee.

We will keep you informed on the next developments.

Situation at Dukovany NPP

An absurd situation exists at the Dukovany NPP. Former technicians of Tediko, the company in charge of the poor-quality weld documentation for the Dukovany NPP, are again making X-ray pictures of the welds. The absurd fact that ČEZ has entrusted the remedy in the hands of those same people that were involved in the unsatisfactory x-raying in the first place, allegedly means that the matter was not one of human error.

Dana Drábová, Chairwoman of the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SONS) views the whole situation as a system failure. Immediately after the weld picture forgery became known, Dana Drábová admittedly made a critical statement on how ČEZ does the weld inspections in the Czech nuclear power plants. It seemed then that the SONS had carried out its role of a strict and unbiased supervisory authority. However, it is an illusion. In spite of these alarming findings of forgery of documentation and weld quality, Dana Drábová said to the press later on that the Dukovany NPP is safe and that the poor-quality welds, masked over by the forged inspections, have nothing to do with nuclear safety. Despite these serious errors (provoking doubts about the factual nature of nuclear safety precautions), the SONS promptly issued an approval to the Dukovany NPP operator that will make it possible to operate the first power generating unit exceptionally beyond its original permit (the validity of the operating permit for the first unit expired on 31 December, and has been extended by the SONS till the end of March 2016). Moreover, the SONS is considering a time-unlimited operating permit, albeit with requirements that the operator will have to comply with in time.

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Anti-Atom-Buttons-Fotos-Projekt Diashow please click

Dezember 10, 2015 – Citizens Initiative Environmental Protection Budweis


Buttons for anti-nuclear activities in Czechia

Within the scope of the project „Danube Region Nuclear-Free“ the Citizens Initiative Budweis has had a thousand buttons made, namely of the following two kinds:

  1. Energy revolution? Yes, please!
  2. Nuclear power? No, thank you!

Both kinds of buttons are being used in anti-nuclear protest campaigns all over Czechia, against the nuclear power plant in Dukovany as well as against the one in Temelin.

The Citizens Initiative Budweis keeps using these buttons at all their activities. At anti-nuclear information desks in South Bohemia, for instance, the buttons are handed out to people who are interested in the topic. The Initiative Budweis organises these information campaigns particularly in the bigger towns of South Bohemia. In spring we are also going to be active in South Moravia, where Dukovany is located. These days we face a number of problems concerning the nuclear power plant in Dukovany: There are faulty check-ups on the welding seams of the pipes. That is why three of the blocks have not been operating for the last three months. And there remains the question if the operation of all four reactor blocks is going to be extended.

The Citizens Initiative Environmental Protection Budweis also runs numerous workshops in primary schools as well as high schools all over Bohemia, the district of Vysocina and also in those regions that have been in consideration as possible locations for final disposal sites for nuclear waste. These workshops are supposed to inform students about the risks of nuclear power and the benefits of using renewable energies. In all these workshops and information campaigns the buttons are being used and given away to students – among other prizes – who have performed well on the quiz that is held after each workshop to check the students` newly acquired knowledge.

With these anti-nuclear buttons we can also show our attitude and resistance towards nuclear power in the public. Activists stick these buttons onto their bags or jackets and thus make their message clearly visible!

11.12.2015, Monika Wittingerová

Czech Republic Update (as of 11 December 2015)

Privileges for nuclear power

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The Czech Government intends to continue to promote the possibility of granting similar public support to investors of nuclear power plants. If ČEZ received similar support to construction of additional nuclear reactors as a project in the UK receives, that is guaranteed minimum feed-in tariff for 35 years, then such costs would have perceptible impacts on electricity consumers or the state budget. The Czech Government most recently expressed this effort by becoming an ancillary party in two lawsuits filed against the European Commission by Austria and the company Greenpeace Energy eG. The subject of the lawsuit is the decision made in October last year with which the retiring commissioners enabled the United Kingdom and the company EdF to build two units of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant with the help of guaranteed electricity prices. The plaintiffs do not consider this decision to be compatible with EU law, because it encroaches without justification on the set rules of free trade.

Problems with safety inspections at Dukovany NPP and Temelín NPP

The Dukovany nuclear power plant faces a problem with safety inspections. Poor-quality X-ray pictures were identified at pipelines in both the non-nuclear and nuclear sections. According to press information, the “pipeline pictures were fuzzy, sometimes instead of required three different photos of the same weld the same picture was photocopied, and some welds at risk of leak were marked as flawless.” Dana Drábová, Chairwoman of the State Office for Nuclear Safety said that deliberate negligence of inspections to reduce downtime is not out of the question. The poor-quality X-ray photos of welds have resulted in additional checks at the power plant aimed at ČEZ proving its safety. This leads to downtime in three units; moreover, the last one is nearing deactivation too. It may thus become reality that none of the Dukovany nuclear units will be in operation until the end of the year.
Inconsistencies in pipeline checks are being examined by experts at the Temelín nuclear power plant as well. Several inconclusive pictures have also been identified there. They relate to pipelines that can either be X-rayed again without the need to shut down the reactors, or they are not as significant as to necessitate the shutdown. How the situation will be resolved will only become clear after the inspection is finished.

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What happens in nuclear power in Czech Republic?

Status of 25 October 2015

Dukovany NPP – So far there have been three unscheduled shutdowns in 2015. Three units were shut down simultaneously at one point, the first time that happened in the power plant’s history.

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In September ČEZ formally applied the State Office for Nuclear Safety for operation extension. In the past, there have typically been applications for a ten-year “permit”. The final resolution will be made by the end of this year at the latest. SONS Chairwoman Dana Drábová has said that the permitting will not be smooth because ČEZ was late in submitting the application (the permit for unit one will expire at the end of 2015), and the documentation shows deficiencies.

Temelín NPPFor a time in October, the Czech Republic got into a situation where it had to import electricity, also “thanks” to Temelín NPP, which indeed is the biggest source of electricity production in the CR but has only generated 8.8 million MWh of power so far this year. Due to extended and unscheduled shutdowns, Temelín will not this year outdo its highest annual power production so far recorded in 2012, which was 15.3 billion kilowatt hours.

Legal steps:

The Municipal Court of Prague has to re-hear the action of NGOs concerning the potential expansion of Temelín. The Supreme Administrative Court has granted the cassation complaint of the South Bohemian Mothers, the Citizen Initiative for Environmental Protection and Calla. The action was against the decision in which the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SONS) permitted the location of new reactors. The Municipal Court originally dismissed the action: it did not grant the environmental associations the role of proceeding parties. It did not look at their arguments against the steps of the SONS and the Ministry of the Environment. The NGOs therefore filed a cassation complaint. The Municipal Court therefore has to hear the action again and has to deal with it on its merits.

Four municipalities (Hojkov, Cejle, Milíčov and Nový Rychnov) around the Hrádek site have decided, along with Second Alternative, an association from Dolní Cerekev, to continue opposing any surveys related to the nuclear repository in their respective cadastres. The Minister of the Environment permitted such surveys in mid September, and the municipalities dislike that. For the time being, filing the action does not mean that the planned survey works on the site will be delayed, but it is a clear signal that the municipalities are serious about their opposition.

Miscellaneous news:

ČEZ will establish two subsidiaries for the construction of new nuclear units. The board of directors of the semi-state-owned company decided about it in October. The option of construction under the management of a new subsidiary has been previously supported by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Minister of Industry Jan Mládek (both ČSSD).

In late June this year, Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek proposed a deferral of the decision on the territorial and environmental limits for brown coal mining in the ČSA strip mine. The decision whether or not to breach the limits in this strip mine should only be made in 2020. However, the Minister is also convinced that the limits can be respected for this mine as long as trouble-free preparation of new nuclear reactors proceeds, including those at Dukovany. In this sense, he made the following media statement in late September: “The country will not need the coal underneath Horní Jiřetín as long as the Dukovany power plant works until the end of its service life, and then the new units start working.” The Government eventually decided in October to breach the brown coal mining limits in the Bílina strip mine, but promised that the mining will progress no less than 500 metres from residential development. At the same time, however, the Ministers resolved that the limits in the ČSA area, which holds five times more coal beyond the limits than Bílina, would be respected.

By Monika Wittingerová, Budweis  <>

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Czech Republic: Situation as of 15 July 2015

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In December last year, the Government passed an update to the State Energy Policy, which unfortunately maintains the outdated model of energy policy, based primarily on nuclear and coal (i.e., preservation of large centralised sources) and underestimating the potential for savings and renewable sources. Afterwards, the Government passed the National Action Plan on Development of Nuclear Energy: it assumes the development of four new reactors (two at Temelín and two at Dukovany). However, the decision on funding for these nuclear plans has been postponed until 2025. (The nuclear plans would have to be paid by power consumers or taxpayers.) Nevertheless, up to 32 billion CZK will be spent on project preparation until then.

Positive news is that the National Action Plan excludes the design for a nuclear fuel production facility in the CR, which was not economically viable, brought geopolitical risks and whose operation would burden the population of the affected municipalities.

The State Raw Materials Policy in force requires a halt to uranium mining in the Czech Republic and securing of the long-term consequences of such mining. On the other hand, in December 2014, the Government decided to develop a new uranium mine at the village of Brzkov in the Highland Region. The locals disapprove of the idea. Moreover, the Government’s decision to “initiate an approval process enabling the State to access the exploitation of the Brzkov-Horní Věžnice uranium deposit” is in stark contravention of the above Policy.

Minister of the Environment Brabec has dismissed appeals by municipalities and civic associations in the majority of the sites where the construction of a deep repository is planned. Unfortunately, he has thus shown his disrespect to citizens who do not wish to have the repository in their area. The State has so far boycotted the passing of an act of law that would empower municipalities as equal parties to the proceedings. Geological surveys on the sites will not start for at least a year, because the Repository Authority has not selected a company to carry out the surveys. In two to three years, the Repository Authority will have to narrow down the number of sites to just one.

Although nuclear power continues to be presented by the nuclear lobby as an industry that has massive public support, it is not quite the case. An opinion poll made in May 2015 showed that the Czech Government’s plans to develop new reactors at Dukovany and Temelín are not supported among the public. Only 22% of the respondents would like a higher share of nuclear power, whilst only six out of a hundred were positively convinced of it. Compared to May last year, moreover, the support of the Government’s nuclear visions decreased notably by 7%, and even by 12% compared to 2012.

Monika Wittingerová

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