Van der Bellen expresses concern about Krsko nuclear power plant

The Slovenian nuclear power plant Krsko, whose long-term extension is met with opposition in Austria, was one of the topics at the annual meeting of the presidents of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen pointed to a “broad consensus” in Austria that the power plant was “problematic”. Meanwhile, his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor campaigned for a referendum on plans to build a second reactor block in Krsko.

According to Van der Bellen, the existing 40-year-old nuclear power plant, the duration of which is to be extended until 2043, is problematic because of its location on an earthquake line and its age. Austria, which will take part in the cross-border environmental impact assessment to extend the life of the Krsko nuclear power plant, will “closely monitor and accompany” with the help of experts, the president said on Thursday at a joint press conference of the three presidents. They met in the small Slovenian town of Kostanjevica na Krki, which is only 13 kilometers as the crow flies from the nuclear reactor.

With regard to the Slovenian plans for the second reactor block, Van der Bellen emphasized that one would have to wait a little longer, especially since there was still no final decision in Slovenia. One also has to wait to see how the new EU climate package “Fit for 55” treats nuclear power plants. According to Austria, nuclear power plants should not count towards green energy technologies, said the Federal President and added that he was aware, however, that a large number of states in the EU are currently relying on nuclear energy.

Slovenian President Pahor emphasized that the Slovenian decision to build a new nuclear power plant “will not go without a referendum” in the end. At the press conference, Pahor announced that he would like to initiate a discussion about this as part of his permanent climate advisory committee. There are two main questions: replaceability of this energy source and security. “This question is also of interest to our Austrian neighbors and friends. But who should be more interested in it than the residents of the country where the nuclear power plant is located, ”emphasized the Slovenian President.

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Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, whose land owns half of the Krsko nuclear power plant, stressed that in an ideal world one would rather be without nuclear power plants, but the pile near the Croatian border is the reality. He pointed out that the system, which was a bit old, was US technology, which was the best quality at the time. “What Slovenia will do in the future is first and foremost its sovereign decision,” said Milanovic. “I am convinced that if they choose to do it, they will make something of the highest quality,” he added.

In the new long-term climate strategy up to 2050, which was passed in parliament this week, Slovenia has committed itself to the long-term use of nuclear power. According to Slovenian environmental organizations, the strategy forms a basis for starting the procedures for the second reactor block.

The environmental organization Global 2000, which had already collected 45,700 signatures for a petition against the Krsko nuclear power plant, welcomed in a message that Van der Bellen had addressed the “legitimate concern” of the petition supporters at the meeting. “It is good that the Federal President is also sending a clear signal,” it said.

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