PR:The National Programme on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management – wasted time due to delays

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Press release by Calla dated July 13, 2017

The National Programme on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management – wasted time due to delays

Although the approval of the new national programme on radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management has lasted for 4 years, there has been no comparison of genuinely feasible options and a fair public debate about them. The European Commission has now given the Czech Republic and the other four countries two months to submit a national programme on radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management [1]. The approved national programme was to be actually submitted by individual countries by 23rd August 2015 [2]. However, so far a process of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is still ongoing in the Czech Republic [3]. The reasons for the delay should be sought at the level of Ministry of Industry and Trade – even though the national programme was written in 2013, the government took note of it only at the end of 2014 and an evaluation of the national programme was published only in May 2017.

Calla and many others who have sent their comments also ask for a remake of the evaluation. The Ministry of Industry and Trade, in striking contradiction with the requirements of the Ministry of the Environment [3], refused to process and evaluate other possible options for radioactive waste management than just a deep geological repository. This prevented experts and the public from discussing, for example, the possibility of extended storage in secure surface storage facilities, where it is possible (unlike with a deep geological repository) to check the integrity of the protective containers. Nor is it possible to compare a variant which makes it easy to retrieve and use part of the waste in the case of technological progress, or a variant of cooperation on an international (regional) solution.

In addition, the evaluated national programme has become obsolete. Some of the proposed objectives were to be met in 2014 or 2015, others have lost meaning. For example, the Working Group for Dialogue on a Deep Geological Repository mentioned in the national programme, has ceased to exist. The timetable for siting the final site for a deep repository of radioactive waste has also become unrealistic - all the geological work, that have been delayed for years, should be now carried out by the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA) in just 7 years.

Edvard Sequens, Energy Consultant of Calla, said: "The pressure built up by the European Commission to accelerate the presentation of the Czech National Programme should not be at the expense of a proper Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) process. This SEA process remains an untapped opportunity for the necessary public debate about the issue of spent nuclear fuel and the various options for its solution."

Additional information may be provided by:

Poznámky:

  1. The topical "European Commission - Factsheet - Part 1: Key Decisions", http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-1935_en.htm , European Commission launched its infringement procedure using a Letter addressed to the Czech side in spring 2016.
  2. COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2011/70/EURATOM of 19 July 2011, which has established a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32011L0070
  3. 3.0 3.1 Assessment of the Update of the National Programme on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management, see https://portal.cenia.cz/eiasea/detail/SEA_MZP237K
  4. For protection against automatical email address robots searching for addresses to send spam to them this email address has been made unreadable for them. To get a correct mail address you have to displace "AT" by the @-symbol and "DOT" by the dot-character (".").
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