PR:National Programme on Radioactive Waste Management: the State has thrown away its opportunity to open public debate

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=> CZECH version of this press release

Press release of the Platform Against Deep Repository dated June 13, 2017

National Programme on Radioactive Waste Management:

the State has thrown away its opportunity to open public debate

Platform Against Deep Repository considers the ongoing process of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the new Governmental National Programme on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management [1] regarding the environment and human health as a wasted opportunity to open up the nationwide societal debate needed on tackling the long-term, dangerous nuclear heritage. Such a public discussion and evaluation of the different options of the solution is fundamentally lacking in the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MPO) and the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SÚRAO/RAWRA) have been blocking the siting process for four years since the drafting of the national programme (the text was finalized already in June 2013) and refuse to consider a different option than the rapid selection of the final site for the deep repository in 2025 at the latest and its operation in 2065.

According to the Platform, the main issues of the SEA of the national programme are as follows:

  • The Ministry of the Environment accepts the approach of the impact assessors [2], who completely ignored the Authority's request to complement other feasible options for spent nuclear fuel management and their comprehensive assessment [3]. Even the environmental impacts of the options mentioned by the Ministry in the update of the national programme have not been evaluated – that is, long-term storage, reprocessing of spent fuel and fast track to a deep geological repository (which is today's procedure). Thus, there is no interest to consider other options at all.
  • The evaluated national programme is outdated , because many of its goals were to be met in 2015 or a little later and others lost their meaning, for example, the Working Group for Dialogue on Deep Repository has ceased to exist. The reason is not the difficulty of the evaluation process, but the sluggishness of the responsible state authorities. Also, the European Commission commenced the infringement procedure against the Czech Republic on 29 April 2016 for failure to comply with Directive 2011/70/EUROATOM on radioactive waste for the absence of a national programme on radioactive waste management.
  • Although the Strategic Environmental Assessment was already completed in January 2017, the Ministry of the Environment decided to not to publish it until now. It is possible to speculate that this was due to enabling the smallest possible public participation (the deadline for submitting comments ends on July 3, 2017). The same happened during the public part of the SEA scoping stage with the deadline of December 22, 2015. The words of the director of SÚRAO/RAWRA, Slovák, that the forms of debate will suit the needs of the inhabitants in the most affected regions, proved to be untrue [4].

In order to at least eliminate the ignorance of state authorities, we prepared an electronic form on for all interested parties to submit comments on the evaluation of the national programme.

Jiří Popelka, a spokesman for the Platform Against Deep Repository, said: "The submitted assessment and the national programme itself should be revised and a proper public discussion should be held. What the responsible government authorities are demonstrating is a purely formal process with the aim of making public participation as hard as possible. The Ministry of Industry refuses to stop the process of selecting a site on the grounds that it would have lost valuable time and then it wastes four years this way. "

Further information can be obtained from:

  • Jiří Popelka, the deputy mayor of the town of Jistebnice, chairman of the Zachovalý kraj association and spokesman for the Platform Against Deep Repository, tel.: +420 739 339 028, popelka DOT jiri AT centrum DOT cz[5]

  1. „National Programme on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management“, Ministry of Industry and Trade, November 2014
  2. Assessment of the „National Programme on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management“ processed according to the Act No. 100/2001 Coll. on Environmental Impact Assessment, ECO-ENVI-CONSULT, SOM s.r.o. a EKOEX, January 2017
  3. One of the ignored requirements of the Ministry of the Environment mentioned in the SEA Scoping Summary: "To complement and comprehensively evaluate other realistic (sensible and technically feasible) options for the spent nuclear fuel management solutions and to determine their order in terms of environmental impacts and public health." See:
  4. RAWRA Director Jiří Slovák stated at the meeting of the Working Group for Dialogue:"Public hearings will take place in all the affected regions (Ústecký, Plzeňský, Jihočeský, Vysočina ...). Public hearings will be focused mainly on the issue of the region. They will take the form of Hyde Park." See minutes of the WG for Dialogue of November 19, 2015:
  5. For protection against automatic 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 (".").