Nuclear problem: After CZK 1.8 billion and 23 years, still no Czech nuclear waste site

After billions spent, the deadline for a Czech nuclear waste repository has been postponed -- again.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 09.11.2020 18:00 (updated on 09.11.2020)

Prague, Nov 9 (CTK) - The Czech Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SURAO) has spent more than 1.8 billion crowns on the preparation of a nuclear waste repository, but for 23 years, it is not yet clear where it will be located, according a Supreme Audit Office (NKU) report issued today.

According to the NKU report, the deadline for selecting the final location has been consistently postponed and that it focused not only on the preparation of the repository, but also on the SURAO's financial management in 2014-2019.

Originally, two potential locations for the repository were to be selected by 2015. The Industry and Trade Ministry gradually postponed this deadline several times and now the final locality is to be selected by 2025, while a deep nuclear waste repository is to be established by 2065.

Cooling towers at Temelín Nuclear Power Plant in the Czech Republic. (photo: iStock)
Cooling towers at Temelín Nuclear Power Plant in the Czech Republic. (photo: iStock)

Disagreements between respective municipalities, as well as the absence of law to define their involvement in the selection of a suitable location have been the main reasons the deadlines has been postponed so many times.

"Between 2014 and 2017, the SURAO had only general tasks defined for the preparation of the repository and it had neither time nor a financial plan to do so," the NKU auditors said.

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The Industry and Trade Ministry was to submit a proposed bill to the government in 2019, but it did so only in May this year. The aim of the legislation is to secure the municipalities' interest in the issue, strengthen their position and clearly specify their role in the selection of a locality for a deep repository.

The NKU warned of shortcomings as far back as 2009. At that time, nine localities were proposed. The ministry was to shortlist four in January 2019 and submit them to the government for approval, but failed to do so, though the SURAO had spent almost 566 million crowns on the selection of these localities, the NKU said.

The constant postponement of the deadline for its selection connected with costs of new exploration and the lack of particular activities in the SURAO's research and development plans pose a risk that the state will eventually pay more for the project than necessary, the NKU concluded.

In June, the SURAO council approved four localities, Janoch near Temelin (where a nuclear plant is situated), south Bohemia, Horka near Trebic, Hradek near Jihlava, both south Moravia, and Brezovy potok in the Klatovy vicinity, west Bohemia.

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