PR:Underground Research Laboratory (URL) Bukov should cost extra 1,8 billion Czech crowns – is that necessary, economic and legal?

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=> CZECH version of this press release

Joint Press Release by NGOs Calla - Association for Preservation of the Environment and Nechceme úložiště Kraví hora (NGO NÚKH) of January 8, 2016
http://calla.cz/index.php?path=hl_stranka/tiskovky/2015&php=tz160108.php


Underground Research Laboratory (URL) Bukov should cost extra 1,8 billion Czech crowns – is that necessary, economic and legal?

On Friday, January 8, 2016 the Minister of the Industry and Trade (MPO), Jan Mládek, Governor of the Vysočina Region Jiří Běhounek and others visited the Underground Research Laboratory (URL) Bukov whose first part was newly built in the vicinity of closing uranium mine in Dolní Rožínka. PVP Bukov should serve to the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SÚRAO) for the research associated with the selection of the site for a geological disposal facility (GDF) for spent fuel. The Ministry of Industry suggests [1] that PVP Bukov should be considerably extended. Costs of public funds for the construction, operation and research should reach nearly 1,8 billion Czech crowns by 2030.

NGOs Calla and NÚKH support the investments into further research to find a safe solution to the problem of radioactive waste. However, PVP Bukov project raises doubts in terms of the economy, real merit of the plan and compliance with the law.

  • The project is presented as a solution for the miners after the uranium mining is finished. Economic analysis [1] calculated that, thanks to the employment of 90 miners in the PVP Bukov project, the state budget saves about 20 million Czech crowns on costs in the social sphere. In contrast, spending on PVP Bukov is planned at 1,785,000,000 CZE.
    Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to invest this money into the development of neglected infrastructure, including ensuring conditions for new investors? Costs are also to be borne by European funds, particularly by the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovations for Competitiveness (OP PIK), to which three requests for a total of 450 million CZE have been addressed. In consequence, a project which does not solve the competitiveness or business development could channel money away from hundreds of non-state companies.
  • There is a risk of thwarting invested funds in terms of real contribution to the search for safe site for GDF. Geological structure in the Kraví hora area, where PVP Bukov was started to be built, differs from the other six selected sites in the Czech Republic. While an adit (i.e. a horizontal opening into the side of a mountain or hill) for PVP Bukov is driven in metamorphic rocks, in other sites there are igneous rocks. Therefore, will the lessons learned here be so beneficial and applicable in other locations to justify the high investment? The State Office for Nuclear Safety (SÚJB) pointed out at such risk. In Finland, which is a role model for MPO and SÚRAO of how to prepare GDF, the underground laboratory was also driven only at the final site of Onkalo. In Bure in France likewise.
  • We also see the questions concerning the existing construction of PVP Bukov in terms of the compliance with the law:
    1. Contract of Work between SÚRAO and the state company DIAMO as a supplier was signed in May 2013. However, according to § 26, article 4 of the Atomic Act, drawing funds from the nuclear account on the activities SÚRAO may be done solely on the basis of government-approved SÚRAO’s work plan and budget for a respective year. In "The SÚRAO’s Action Plan for 2013, a three-year plan and a long-term plan" [2], there is no reference to PVP Bukov and investment in it, neither in other years. Information about PVP Bukov appeared first time in the Action Plan for the year of 2016.
      • The decision to invest 83 million Czech crowns, which raises the need for additional public investment in billions of CZE, was not taken by the government, but by SÚRAO’s Council at the beginning of 2013. The Council is social institution of (public) control over SÚRAO and has to supervise efficiency of allocated resources. It can not be verified how exactly the Council’s decision was specified because the Council’s minutes are provided only incomplete (blackened) [3].
    2. No exploration area for the realization of PVP Bukov was established, as is required by the Act on Geological Works. The URL is located in the mining area of the mine Rožná I which was permitted for the purpose of extraction of uranium ore or other materials, but not for geological works for GDF.
      • PVP Bukov is not in accordance with the valid government-approved "Concept for Spent Nuclear Fuel and Radioactive Waste Management in the Czech Republic". The Concept envisages the construction of underground laboratory at the site of the future GDF by providing objective: "To prepare all the project and supporting documentation for the start of construction of an underground laboratory and the realization long-term experiments to substantiate and confirm the safety of GDF" in the time period up to 2030 [4].

Edvard Sequens, energy consultant of Calla, said: "A number of contracts assigned by to the state enterprise DIAMO in recent years shows a lot more effort to support the deteriorating economy of Uranium company, rather than systematic search of a safe storage for risky nuclear waste. Just as the locality of Kraví hora in the vicinity of uranium mines was added to the selection later, despite the recommendations of geologists, an underground laboratory was not planned or now presented earlier either."

Martin Schenk, chairman and spokesman of NGO NÚKH, said: "We perceive construction of the URL beneath Bukov more as protraction of the region Bystřicko’s dependence on mining activities. The URL can also mean that a deep repository can be constructed in its place later. Therefore, we think that the attention should be focused more on strengthening investment in industrial zones in Bystřice nad Pernštejnem and the most speedy and effective retraining of personnels of mines."

Additional information may be obtained from:

Annexes:

  1. 1.0 1.1 On Wednesday January 13, 2016, the government is going to discuss the document "Proposed solution to the social consequences of closure of uranium mine in Dolní Rožínka" which contains proposals to further development of PVP Bukov from public funds
  2. "The SÚRAO’s Action Plan for 2013, a three-year plan and a long-term plan" adopted by the Czech government on the December 20, 2012.
  3. Due to SÚRAO’s confidentiality, applied also in the Council’s minutes, Calla filed a suit against SÚRAO in 2012 which has not been proceed by the Municipal Court in Prague up to this date.
  4. "The Concept for Spent Nuclear Fuel and Radioactive Waste Management in the Czech Republic" for download: http://www.nechcemeuloziste.cz/cs/dokumenty/odborne-studie/koncepce-nakladani-s-radioaktivnimi-odpady-a-vyhorelym-jadernym-palivem-v-cr.html
  5. 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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