The Slovenian government has approved an investment program for a national repository for low- and intermediate-level waste (LLW/ILW). The total investment costs depend on whether neighbouring Croatia participates in the project.
Minister of infrastructure and spatial planning Samo Omerzel announced yesterday that he had signed off the investment program for the planned repository.
|An artist's impression of how the Vrbina waste facility could appear (Image: ARAO)
The program estimates the total investment cost for building, operating and eventually sealing the repository to be some €157 million ($214 million). This figure is based on the assumption that the repository will be used for the disposal of all the LLW/ILW generated through medical, research and industrial use, as well as half of such waste produced at the Krško nuclear power plant. However, the investment program estimates that if Croatia also participates in the repository project, the total cost would be around €178 million ($242 million), or €89 million ($121 million) each.
The Krško plant, operated by Nuklearna Elektrarna Krško (NEK), is jointly owned by Slovenia and Croatia and electricity output is shared equally between them. Each country is responsible for half of the radioactive waste generated by the plant, a single 696 MWe Westinghouse PWR.
The infrastructure and spatial planning ministry said that the repository project is designed so that it could be expanded to accommodate the half of Krško's LLW/ILW that Croatia is responsible for. However, it noted that the two countries would need to reach an agreement on this. The ministry said that sharing the costs "would be the most economic choice for both countries."
Whether Croatia participates or not, some 81% of Slovenia's funding for the project will be come from its fund for decommissioning Krško and managing the plant's waste. The remainder of the costs would come from the national budget for dealing with wastes arising from healthcare, research and industry.
The site of the planned repository was selected as Vrbina, close to Krško, by government decree in December 2009 following a public consultation process lasting several years. The Slovenian Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (ARAO) will lead the activities until the construction permit is issued. A construction permit for the facility is expected in 2017, with construction taking place between 2017 and 2019. Trial operation of the repository is scheduled to start in 2020.
The ministry noted, "Building the repository will provide the necessary conditions for performing the public service of radioactive waste management and for long-term and reliable operation of the Krško plant, consequently improving the self-sufficiency and reliability of the Slovenian electricity system." It added, "Above all, the project will ensure the basis for safe, economic and reliable use of radioactive sources in science, medicine and industry."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News