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Endorsement Voiced for New Nuclear Reactor, Coal-Fired Plant

Velenje, 12 March (STA) - The parliamentary Economy Committee voiced endorsement Friday for plans to build both a new generator at the Sostanj coal-fired power plant (TES) and a second reactor at the Krsko Nuclear Power Plant (NEK).

The dilemma between TES 6 and NEK 2 is artificial. Power trading companies have a vested interest in not having sufficient capacity in Slovenia in order to have more scope for trading, said Borut Meh, the chairman of power utility HSE, who participated in the debate in Velenje.

Plans to build a new generator in Sostanj, which would raise the power station's output from 3,600 GWh to 4,700 GWh a year by 2025, have run into opposition from environmentalists as well as experts who claim that a second generator at Krsko would be sufficient o meet energy needs.

Economy Minister Matej Lahovnik said today said that the project was economical and crucial for the power plant as well as the nearby coal mine in Velenje, which is supplying the coal.

In a recession it does not make sense to halt this project. A lot of people would lose their jobs, coal sufficing for the next 43 years would be left underground and expensive electricity would have to be imported, Lahovnik pointed out.

NEK director Stane Rozman meanwhile said there was consensus in the EU that nuclear energy was the right response to satisfying environmental standards while at the same time retaining competitiveness.

MPs voiced broad support for both projects, but they pointed out that debate about such key investments should have been carried out long ago. At the behest of Democrats (SDS) MP Andrej Vizjak, they also urged the government to provide conditions for continued construction of hydro plants on the lower Sava river.

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