The Regional Court in Bratislava is due to rule today (Friday, May 11) in the case of the contested construction permit for completion of the third and fourth units of the Mochovce Nuclear Power Plant, the SITA newswire reported, citing Greenpeace Slovakia spokesperson Lucia Szabová.
Greenpeace filed a motion against the Nuclear Regulatory Authority three years ago regarding completion of the plant. "The essence of the objection is that the Nuclear Regulatory Authority did not issue the construction permit in 2008 in a lawful manner," the spokesperson stated.
Greenpeace Slovakia argues that the issue of the permit should have been preceded by expert and public assessment of environmental impacts in an EIA process, which, according to Szabová, is an essential basis for each building permit procedure with a significant environmental impact.
"The Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee decided on this case in 2010 and assessed the compliance of the building permit issuing process with the Aarhus Convention, to which Slovakia is a signatory," she said, adding that the committee noted that Slovakia had violated the convention in issuing the permit to build the third and fourth unit of Mochovce, as it did not allow the public to engage early and effectively in the proceedings, through the EIA process. According to Greenpeace Slovakia and its lawyer Eva Kovačechová, the original building permit was issued in 1986, when the EIA process was not yet part of the Slovak legal system.
"In 2008, when construction of the nuclear power plant was renewed, the EIA process had already been included in the standard permitting process," she said. In her words, the Aarhus Committee did not take into account the argument of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, according to which it did not need to conduct an EIA process to amend the building permit because it only allowed changes to an existing permit and did not issue a new one. However, the Aarhus Committee stated that such a significant change of the building permit should have been preceded by an EIA process. According to Szabova, the changed building permit contained many design changes to the NPP, for example regarding security and new technologies. "The changes were so significant in our view that we demand an EIA be carried out," she said, as quoted by SITA.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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