Symposium by “Posavje Nuclear Partnership” and in association with “Union of Slovenian Ecological Movements” to commemorate 30 years Chernobyl and 5 years Fukushima on April 12, 2016 in Krško.

Synopsis of the proceedings:

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The first section was dedicated to health effects of both the Chernobyl and Fukushima catastrophies:

Dr Alfred Körblein discussed evidence for the correlation of high perinatal mortality and imports of contaminated meat in Croatia between 1986 and 1988.

– Ms Yoko Kawasaki informed the conference about the aftermath of the nuclear accident in Fukushima. A collection of baby teeth is being organized, as strontium-90 (90Sr) is incorporated in the place of calcium by the infantine organism. Being a source of radiation, the isotope can readily be detected.

Dr Leo Šešerko reported on plans to archive the baby teeth in Posavje (municipality of Krško). Analysis of the teeth can only be accomplished at a later date when funding of the project has been secured.

The second section of the symposium was scheduled to offer a critical appraisal of Slovenia’s current nuclear-friendly policies.

– The association “Posavje Nuclear Partnership” is in the process of constitution. It’s mission is the integration and information of the public as local stakeholders and supervision of adherence to the Aarhus- and Espoo-Conventions. Major criticism is leveled against the construction under state control without recourse to an environmental impact assessment of an intermediate storage site for the deposition of dry casks containing spent nuclear fuel.

Karel Lipič of ZEG (“Zveza ekoloških gibanj Slovenije”; “Union of Slovenian Ecological Movements”) criticized a number of points:

  – exclusion of the citizens when public-sector projects are being implemented

  – the planned construction of a second reactor in Krško by utilizing 10 millions Euro of inadmissible financing – for annual advertising.

  – construction of a new airport for commercial and military use in unacceptable proximity to the Krško NPP.

  – the intended extension of the operating license for the reactor of the first unit which has been in service since 1981.

Jan Haverkamp demanded the participation of the public as stakeholders in the decision-making process regarding the construction of an intermediate storage site for dry fuel casks as well as obtaining the view of neighboring states.

The chairman of the Croatian Green Party (ORAH) asserted that

  – the area surrounding Krško is seismically the second most active in all of Slovenia

  – water of the river Save is excessively heated up by the NPP

  – the Green Party ORHA is intending to carry out rigorous checks in all of these matters, as the proximity of the city of Zagreb and other settlements nearby are not to be ignored

(Synopsis by Paula Stegmüller)

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Krsko NPP: Additional Seismic Faults Detected

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International experts have met in Klagenfurt on April 7, 2016, to review risk associated with the Slovenian NPP at Krsko. It transpired that previously unknown seismic faults have been identified. As of today Austria was not notified. Also, an additional NPP is to be constructed.

Experts from France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Croatia and the US compared their findings in order to reach a conclusion on an updated risk assessment. While members of the press were not permitted to attend the proceedings of the conference, statements indicate it became clear during the discussions that US experts had been contracted by the operating company to survey the site of the power station.

As Dr Kurt Decker of Vienna University, a participant of the conference, remarked, these investigations uncovered the location of seismic disturbances that could facilitate earthquakes. These potentially highly dynamic geological fissures are located within a radius of 25 km around the NPP.

New faults are being investigated

According to Dr Decker, the professionals contracted by the operating company are in the process of mapping the faults so as to be able to judge the likely frequency of earthquakes to occur. Geological and paleo-seismological investigations are to be conducted. This process is supposed to establish the existing risk and define the constructive standards a NPP should be able to meet; as a result the hazard to the existing NPP may well turn out to be higher than previously assumed. Due to Dr Decker, the goal of these investigations was not only to increase safety margins at the existing NPP but also to find a suitable construction site for a second unit. It was of prime importance for the contracted geologists to cover all potential sources of a safety risk and to investigate each and every one of the fault lines. It was supposed be rated as a success that the information had been passed on under the auspices of the conference. There was no official reaction from Austria.

To convince Slovenia and Croatia”

Slovenia and Croatia evaluate the likelihood of a nuclear accident in the aftermath of an earthquake completely differently”, according to Rolf Holub (Green Party), a member of the provincial government of Carinthia. Holub stated there was the same potential [to do damage] for this NPP as in the case of Fukushima and Chernobyl: “One has to be cautious.” It was intended to convince Slovenia and Croatia that new technologies to produce clean energy do exist. This, however, was going to be a long process, Holub added.

Highest earthquake risk of all of Europe’s NPPs

According to Austrian experts, Krsko NPP is most at risk by earthquakes of all European NPPs even as of today. The nuclear station is close to the seismic fault between the Adriatic and Pannonian-Alpine Plates – an area rich in geologically active instable areas that, at least in the view of Austrian scientists, have not yet been sufficiently explored. The last earthquake near the power plant took place in November. It was of magnitude 4,8 on the base-10 Richter scale; no damages had been reported by the NPP. The operating license of Krsko has only recently been extended by 20 years to 2043. According to the European stress test the NPP has been designed to withstand the most severe earthquake that can be expected in 10.000 years time.

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ORF Kärnten, April 8, 2016


27.11.2015, Karel Lipič

Do politicians meddling in the administration of the Slovenian NPP Krško pose a risk?

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The reply by Krško NPP (Nuklearne Elektrana Krško, NEK) and the director of the Slovenian Reactor Safety Administration, Andrej Stritar, to the inquiry by the Croatian newspaper Jutranji List concerning the preferential treatment of Slovenian companies for maintenance work at the NPP missed the point entirely. Of course it is asking for trouble when a party defeated in elections is engaging in horse trading by moving to install Dragan Marčinko as an Executive Board Member at Krško NPP – this in the face of Mr Marčinko’s lack of expertise in nuclear technology. However, the truth of the matter is that the selection of cadres in Slovenia and in Croatia has always been handled in this fashion. Abolishing such practices is long overdue according to Karel Lipič of the Association of Ecological Movements Slovenia (ZEG).

Who are these “politicians” in leading roles within the Slovenian nuclear establishment? Mr Stritar himself, the director of Slovenia’s nuclear regulatory authority, had surprised the European and Slovenian anti-nuclear activists present at a major international conference on nuclear energy held in Ljubljana in the 1980s by declaring to be so confident in the safety of nuclear waste that he would be perfectly at ease if it was stored under his bed. Far from doing any harm to his career, this statement rather seems to have commended him for highest office in “real” politics. It is of course a sign of uncompromising support for the interests of the nuclear lobby, diametrically opposed to the concerns of a majority of the public who, after the experience of Chernobyl and Fukushima, are no longer in favor of the nuclear industry.

And there is more: the current government, that, before the elections, had promised adherence to impeccable ethical and moral standards, has kept Danijel Levičar, a “reactor engineer” originally working for NEK, as the Director-General of the Energy Directorate at the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure, whose current task is to “adapt national energy legislation”. Adapt it to what? To the interests of the nuclear lobby!

Karel Lipič reminds us that Dr Tomaž Žagar was chosen as the director for the Agency of Radwaste Management (ARAO). Earlier on Dr Žagar had been employed by GEN, one of the two companies sharing ownership of the NPP. This may provide a clue to people who wonder why Slovenia’s policy choices continually neglect wind and solar power as valid options.

The question is as follows: when employees of the NPP are allowed to simultaneously man key positions at the reactor in the NPP as well as in the government, as if they were best suited to perform both roles, what is it with all the other politicians, don’t they understand where this energy policy will lead? In addition to all his various capacities within the power industry Dr Danijel Levičar is now also in charge of the financial penalization of individuals who have not yet obtained their energy pass. This is true for more than 99 % of the citizenry.

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September 2015, Leo Šešerko

Slovene Ministry of Infrastructure proposes long-term use of nuclear energy for

electricity production in Slovenia

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The Ministry of Infrastructure proposed in the draft Energy concept of Slovenia in the chapter on nuclear energy that „nuclear energy plays an important role in low-carbon electricity production and therefore the ministry and the government proposes its long-term use”, even after the close of the life of existing plant, which means an extension of the operation of the nuclear power plant Krško from 2023 to 2043.
The conclusion that nuclear energy plays an important role in low-carbon electricity generation is incorrect and unprofessional.
Mining and production of nuclear fuel – uranium is carbon intensive production of fuel: first through extracting ore in uranium mines, for example the underground uranium mine in Žirovski vrh, or in large open-cast mining in Canada or Australia, then the ore processing / crushing ore in giant crushers and further during centrifugation / in the hundreds of thousands of centrifuges / chemically dissolved minerals. In addition there is intensive consumption of electricity in nuclear power plants themselves, for example cooling and other operations. And finally it is necessary to take into account electricity consumption in the future to maintain the spent fuel.
In the analysis of life cycle of nuclear power Jan Willem van Leeuwen and Philip Smith came to the conclusion that
electricity from nuclear power emits 90 to 140 g CO2 per kWh of electricity produced.
For the ore rich in uranium carbon emissions are lower and for the one poor in uranium ore the carbon emissions are higher.
World reserves of uranium ore are very limited resource and will be exhausted in 50 to 70 years, according to today’s demand. If there will be new reactors constructed, the period of supply of uranium will be shortened accordingly. The fact that the Ministry of Infrastructure proposes long-term use of nuclear power even after the close of extension of existing plant (2023 to 2043) only means building of a second reactor in Krško. This is an irresponsible toying with the future finances and budget of Slovenia and with health of her people and nature.

According to the price of the new reactor in Olkiluotu in Finland, which reached in the pending litigation between the builder Areva and the Finnish Nuclear Safety Administration 9 billion euro, to which must be added at least 2.5 billion euro for the construction of a deep repository for spent nuclear fuel. Such construction is for Slovenia financially totally unacceptable. One kWh from new nuclear power plant would be 2.5 times more expensive than a kWh from the corrupt bubbling construction costs for the Šoštanj coal power station 6 newly built. The current low price of electricity from NPP 1 is only possible due to hidden subsidizing of nuclear electricity and because of EURATOM agreement, which bills will be paid by future generations. The extension of the life of the NPP 1 is totally irresponsible also because of the fatigue of the nuclear reactor, inside which 7 fuel rods already have been found broken.

Probable further larger fracturing of the fuel rods and of the containment of the reactor can lead to problems with the cooling of the reactor and to meltdown of its core, as it has happened in Chernobyl and Fukushima.

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