Uncertainty over Krsko deal

28 September 2001

Slovenia’s government may not sign an accord with Croatia providing for joint management of the Krsko station, unless the Croatian parliament ratifies a border agreement, said prime minister Janez Drnovsek.

The two countries reached an agreement on border issues and management of the Krsko plant in July (see NEI September 2001, p8). Drnovsek said at the time that he expected both agreements to pass in the Slovenian parliament. His Croatian counterpart Ivica Racan said, however, that while he did not expect MPs in Zagreb to raise any objections to the Krsko deal, the border agreement may prove to be more controversial.

Many political and public figures in Zagreb have said that the agreement would force Croatia to cede a large section of the northern Adriatic sea. Drnovsek says relations between Zagreb and Ljubljana would suffer if the July agreement was not finalised.

The agreement says that Krsko, which is located in Slovenia but jointly owned by Slovenia and Croatia, must start sending half of its output to Croatia in July 2002. For the last three years, the plant has not sent any power to Croatia, citing the latter’s failure to pay old bills. The plant’s operation is shared between Croatian power monopoly Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP), and Slovenia’s national utility ELES. The Croatian government covered part of the plant’s construction costs.

However, some believe the agreement over Krsko is damaging for Slovenia. A group of 15 lawmakers from three opposition parties addressed an open letter to the prime minister, proposing that he postpone the signing of the agreement. The group believes the state cannot accept a 50:50 partition of ownership, and thus the rights and obligations.

Krsko accounts for 36% of total Slovene electricity production, but plans to increase this by a further 1.1% were not realised because the plant had to operate at a reduced output for 55 days due to the low level of the river Sava. It was the second year that the plant had operated without any interruptions.

• Slovenia’s State Administration Board for Nuclear Safety has prepared a report on nuclear and radiation safety for 2000 in cooperation with the State Health Inspectorate and the Administration Board for Protection and Rescue – the first of its kind for several years.

The report shows that all Slovene nuclear facilities operated safely and reliably, but with scope for improvement. It noted that the Agency for Radioactive Waste was last year asked by the administration to prepare a project to modernise a warehouse in Brinj, where radioactive waste is kept and report on its safety. But the project report was not satisfactory and the warehouse is being used only in emergencies until new plans are completed.
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