PR:We need the Act to strengthen the rights of municipalities in the siting process for a deep geological repository - Although the proposal will be discussed by the government, the Act will not be approved soon due to the Ministry of Industry
Press release of the Platform Against Deep Repository dated January 15, 2017
We need the Act to strengthen the rights of municipalities in the siting process for a deep geological repository
Although the proposal will be discussed by the Government, the Act will not be approved soon, due to the Ministry of Industry
At its meeting on January 16, 2017, Government should discuss the legislative intent of the Act to strengthen the rights of municipalities in the siting process for a deep geological repository. Platform Against Deep Repository, which brings together 21 municipalities and 11 associations from all seven sites  wants municipalities to have better opportunities guaranteed by law to defend their legitimate interests before the sites suitable for a deep repository are explored and chosen. However, the Act will not be approved in this legislative term because of the Ministry of Industry and Trade responsible for preparation of the law. And this is happening even though that it is a compromised version that does not give municipalities the power of veto, but it involves the Government and the Senate in decision-making process. Requirements of Members of Parliament and Senators that the bill should have been submitted to Parliament by the end of 2016 , have been unfulfilled as well.
Legal analyses have shown that neither the municipalities, nor the public, have many opportunities to defend the interests of its citizens against the State in case of such a unique project of a deep geological repository for high-level waste, which virtually permanently and significantly affects the life of people living in the selected region. At the same time it is the principle commonly used in many democratically developed countries and certainly in those where they have progressed in permitting a repository. Also, the (European) Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM requires that the public could participate effectively in decision making on spent fuel and radioactive waste management.
Draft Act had been discussed and prepared in the Governmental Working Group for Dialogue on a Deep Repository since 2011. Its adoption was recommended by the Government Council for the Energetic and Raw Strategy in September 2015. Only after a year was the draft sent by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MPO) to ministries for comments. However, the MPO has failed to explain the principles and the need for the Act, and thus the Ministry of Environment (although its representative contributed to the creation of the draft Act as a member of the Working Group), the Ministry for Regional Development, Ministry of Justice and ultimately the Government Legislative Council are against it and propose withdrawal of the draft Act.
Even if the draft Act passed through the Government, the MPO will start preparing its articulated version, which means that the approval can not be expected in this Parliament’s term, and then the whole process starts anew again. In autumn 2016, the MPO did not even include the Act in the government-approved legislative work plan for 2017.
The procedure of the MPO shows that it only uses the Act as bait for municipalities, but in fact it virtually does nothing to allow its adoption.
Petr Klásek, spokesman for the Platform Against Deep Repository, said: "This is the first small step after fifteen years of the joint efforts of municipalities. Currently, it is a compromise, so we will see how the Government and legislative bodies will react. However, had there been no protests, demonstrations, referendums, petitions, and other activities of the people in the sites, we would not have progressed at all. All this time, we have requested the strengthened rights of municipalities and their citizens, equal status of municipalities and the State established in the legislation and transparent and auditable procedures throughout the siting process. Now there is only this draft Act, but Radioactive Waste Repository Authority continues with its geological surveys and wants to extend their expired validity for two years."
Further information can be obtained from:
- Petr Klásek, Mayor of Chanovice and a spokesman for the Platform Against Deep Repository, tel.: +420 606 745 795, obec DOT chanovice AT email DOT cz
- Members of the Platform Against Deep Repository https://www.platformaprotiulozisti.cz.
- In July 2016, the Senate’s resolution supported to strengthen the role of local municipalities in decision-making about the deep repository and called on the Government to rapidly submit a draft Act, which regulates the involvement of municipalities in the siting process for a geological disposal facility for radioactive waste, into the Czech Parliament so that it could be approved before the end of the Chamber of Deputies’ term. Similar resolution was also adopted by the Chamber of Deputies‘ Committee on the Environment.
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