Evaluation of Czech national programme on radioactive waste and spent fuel management: NTW calls for proper public discussion and participation

On 28.06.2017, a public hearing is held in Prague in the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) procedure on the Update of the National Programme on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management, and the Evaluation of the Czech National Programme on radioactive waste [1].

NTW wishes to express its high concerns on several aspects of this evaluation. Our network supports the position of the Czech organizations the Green Circle (The Association of Environmental Organizations) and Calla – Association for Preservation of the Environment [2].

  • The evaluation process ignores the request from the Czech Ministry of Environment at the conclusion of the SEA scoping procedure “To complement and comprehensively evaluate other realistic (feasible and technically feasible) options for the solution of the spent fuel management and to determine their effects on the environment and public health.”[3]It’s important to stress that no alternatives have been added and no evaluation of those alternatives has been carried out. The complexities of the design concept have not been evaluated; for instance, a zero option in the form of long-term storage in interim storage facilities was not analyzed, neither reprocessing of spent fuel and disposal of the waste from that process were fully evaluated – the SEA processors only investigated the option of a deep geological repository, which should be in operation since 2065.
  • NTW fears an increase in distrust in the population because the impacts of deep drilling which will be carried out on two sites and which will have impacts both on surface and groundwater, are assessed as zero without detailed investigation. Also, socio-economic, air, noise, surface and ground water, soil, nature and landscape impacts later in the stage of the construction of an underground research laboratory and repository, are rated as zero or only slightly negative. Such results are in stark contrast with previous studies like the one made by GeoBariera commissioned by the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA) [4].
  • The evaluated national programme already did not deliver on several of its objectives. Several of the targets for 2015 have not been met. The Working Group for Dialogue mentioned in the programme dissolved in 2016.

NTW calls on the Czech authorities responsible for the evaluation and the national programme itself, to amend the presented material according to comments from the public and the Ministry of Environment and submit it to a proper public discussion.

Olga Kališová of Calla said:Despite the sweet talk, the reality shows the Czech state authorities do not effectively promote nationwide public participation in decision-making process related to radioactive waste management. Therefore, I welcome the efforts of the Nuclear Transparency Watch to alert to these serious issues. May this public announcement not “only“ capture attention of ordinary people in the Czech Republic and worldwide, but mainly make a positive shift in a mindset of people dealing with radioactive waste management on all levels. Otherwise, the tension will escalate which will not benefit anyone.“

For more information:

Olga Kališová, MSc., Energy Consultant, Member of Nuclear Transparency Watch, Calla–Association for Preservation of the Environment,   +420 720 995 944, o.kalisova@gmail.com

 Notes to the editor:

[1] Notice of public hearing of the “Update of the National Programme on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management” and its Strategic Environmental Assessment”.  (czech version)

[2] Press release by Calla – Association for Preservation of the Environment and the Green Circle dated June 27, 2017. 

[3] Evaluation of the “Update of the National Programme on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management” elaborated according to Act No. 100/2001 Coll., ECO-ENVI-CONSULT, SOM s.r.o. And EKOEX, January 2017.

[4] GeoBariera, Provedení geologických a dalších prací pro hodnocení a zúžení lokalit pro umístění hlubinného úložiště [“Performing geological and other work for assessing and selecting sites for the deep geological repository: Preliminary feasibility study.”]; Prague (2005).