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Investment programme for the low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste (LILW) repository confirmed

Important step in responsible management of radioactive waste

 

Ljubljana, 9. July 2014 – Yesterday, minister for infrastructure and spatial planning Mr Samo Omerzel has signed off on the Investment Programme for the LILW repository. This marks one of the important steps in the process of building the repository, essential in this phase of the process.

The building of the LILW repository is planned in several documents in Slovenia, from strategic ones (such as the Strategy of spatial development in Slovenia (Official Journal RS, no. 76/04)) through legal obligations (Ionising Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act (Official Journal RS, no. 67/02, 24/03, 46/04, 60/2011)) as well as international obligations, such as the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (Official Journal RS, no. 3/99).

 

The LILW repository will be safe and environmentally acceptable, technologically appropriate and economical, as well as socially acceptable. Building the repository will provide the necessary conditions for performing the public service of radioactive waste management and for long-term and reliable operation of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK), consequently improving the self-sufficiency and reliability of the Slovenian electricity system. Above all, the project will ensure the basis for safe, economic and reliable use of radioactive sources in science, medicine and industry.

 

The location for the LILW repository has been chosen by the Governmental Decree on the National Spatial Plan for the LILW repository at the Vrbina site in Krško municipality in December 2009, following an extensive consultation period over several years in which the public was actively included.

 

The Investment Programme estimates that the total investment cost including among other things the build, equipment and the rent to local communities for the limited use of space, as well as the decommissioning of the repository will amount to €157 million. This is based on the premise that all of the LILW caused by so call small polluters in Slovenia will be deposited in the repository and half of the LILW from NEK, namely the half that Slovenia is obliged to manage. However, the project is designed in such a way that it could accommodate also the half of all the LILW waste from NEK that is the responsibility of Croatia (as the co-owner of NEK), if the two countries are successful in reaching the agreement regarding this issues in line with the Intergovernmental Agreement concerning NEK (Treaty between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the government of the Republic of Croatia on the regulation of the status and other legal relations regarding investment, exploitation and decommissioning of the Krško Nuclear Plant). This would considerably lower the price of waste management for both sides. The total cost of the investment in this case would be around €178 million, which means €89 million for each country. This would also be the most economic choice for both countries.

 

Most of the funds (nearly 81%) for the investment is and will be provided for from the NEK Fund (Fund for Financing Decommissioning of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant Krško and Disposal of Radioactive Waste from the Krško NPP), as most of the LILW in the repository will be from the waste from NEK. The national budget will finance the rest of the investment costs, thus reflecting the share of the LILW deposited in the repository that stem from medicine, research and industry use. The investor is the Republic of Slovenia (the Government), and ARAO is the agent authorized to lead the activities until the building permit is granted.

 

It is foreseen that the building permit will be attained in 2017 and building will take place between 2017 and 2019. Before that, the preparatory works and infrastructure connections will be finalized. According to the planned schedule, the repository will start operating in 2020.