Enviro Ministry greenlights extension of radioactive waste treatment facility in Jaslovské Bohunice

The verdict has not pleased the neighbouring municipalities.

New skyline of the  Jaslovské Bohunice nuclear power station after four cooling towers of the V1 nuclear power station were pulled down.  New skyline of the Jaslovské Bohunice nuclear power station after four cooling towers of the V1 nuclear power station were pulled down. (Source: TASR)

The Environment Ministry has given a greenlight to the extension of the radioactive waste treatment facility in Jaslovské Bohunice, based on an environmental impact assessment (EIA). This will enable the state-owned facility which handles radioactive waste, Jadrová a Vyraďovacia Spoločnosť (Nuclear and Decommissioning Company), JAVYS, to double its incineration capacity from 240 tonnes to 480 tonnes per year.

Related articleEnvironment Ministry wants constitutional ban on incineration of foreign radioactive waste Read more 

The decision of the Environment Ministry has not pleased the mayors of the neighbouring villages who fear the worsening of the environment. They do not like the fact that JAVYS incinerates not only Slovak but also foreign radioactive waste. Furthermore, they point out that Environment Minister Ján Budaj okayed the project despite the fact that he has been pushing for the adoption of a constitutional law banning the incineration of foreign radioactive waste (RAW) in Slovakia.

“We realise that we are responsible for our own radioactive waste,” Peter Jančovič, Piešťany Mayor told the news channel TA3, adding that it is unacceptable to import radioactive waste from abroad.

On the other hand, the mayor of Jaslovské Bohunice does not have any problem with the import of RAW. Rather, she objects to the storage of burnt highly active fuel from the decommissioned nuclear power plant on the territory of the municipality, according to TA3.

JAVYS in Jaslovské Bohunice serves as a service company to both nuclear power plants in Slovakia, in Jaslovské Bohunice near Trnava and Mochovce near Nitra. Its tasks include storing nuclear fuel spent by both facilities in an interim storage facility, decommissioning the closed nuclear facilities (the A1 and V1 nuclear power plants in Jaslovské Bohunice) and processing radioactive waste generated by the nuclear power plants as well as hospitals, research institutions, labs and other facilities.

As well as this, is treats foreign nuclear waste from, for example, Germany and the Czech Republic. In 2015, JAVYS signed a contract with the Sogin company on the treatment of RAW from the closed nuclear power plant in Caorso, Italy. This plant closed in 1990 due to public pressure following the Chernobyl disaster. Based on the contract, JAVYS should process 865 tons of radioactive waste from the Italian nuclear power plant by 2023, the SITA newswire reported.

To meet the contract, JAVYS needs to increase its incineration capacity. It has thus built a new treatment facility, but has to obtain the nod from the Environment Ministry.

Pavol Štuller, general director of JAVYS explained for TA3 that the capacity of its incineration facility would return to the present level as the current facility is nearing the end of its economic life. He further reiterated that no radioactivity, after the processing of RAW, remains in Slovakia.

Budaj noted for TA3 that they have prepared the draft bill to exclude the further import of radioactive waste to Slovakia. It should become effective after the contract with the Italian company ceases in two years time. But the ruling coalition is not unanimous in this matter. Economy Minister Richard Sulík and his SaS party consider the law to go against Slovakia’s economic interests and the country’s existing expertise and technological capacities.

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