Nuclear waste repository debate stalls around selection of site on Czech territory (November 2015)

All of the players are ‘entrenched’ in their positions

Lubenec, North Bohemia, Nov 8 (ČTK) — The situation around the selection of an area for a permanent nuclear waste repository on Czech territory has reached a stalemate, State Office for Nuclear Safety (SÚJB) head Dana Drábová has told the Czech News Agency after a debate in Lubenec, which is one of the proposed areas.

“The situation is an absolute deadlock. All players in this field are entrenched in their positions and nobody is willing to move a single bit. This means that a very long, patient seeking of a dialogue will be necessary to make a move,” Drábová said on Saturday.

She said the CzechRepublic will need a nuclear waste repository one day and this repository will have to be built.

Environment Minister Richard Brabec approved exploration in seven areas one year ago, but the municipalities concerned appealed his decision.

In May, Brabec decided that the exploration by the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SÚRAO) can start in Čertovka near Lubenec, in Magdalena and Cihadlo, both in south Bohemia, and Horka and Kraví hora, in the Vysočina Region. In August, the SÚRAO received the permission to start surveys in the two remaining areas, Březový potok, west Bohemia, and Hradek, Vysočina Region.

The final decision on the permanent repository is to be made by 2025.

On Saturday, a debate on the deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel was held in Lubenec.

Drábová said the locals considered the most dangerous the ionizing radiation, which is an aspect that experts can manage very well. “I could even say this is the least of the burdens that the repository would represent for them,” she said.

SÚRAO director Jiří Slovák said the situation was the same in all seven areas in which the exploration was permitted as there always were both opponents and supporters of the project.

During the discussion in Lubenec, some nearly nonsensical arguments were presented but people also asked technical questions that proved their interest in the issue, Slovak said.

The people in Lubenec fear that their area would be irreversibly damaged. In 2012, a local referendum clearly rejected the project.

SÚRAO expects to launch the operation of the underground repository covering over 300 hectares in 2065. The spent fuel is to be stored there for tens of thousands of years.

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