Experts voice their opinions on nuclear reactor plan
Discussing the project of building a new reactor to replace the existing one at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK), Edvard Košnjek of the GIZ said that Slovenia was already a net importer of electricity and that its electricity consumption would only increase with time.
"It is thus hard to imagine a long-term energy strategy in the future without a major energy source," said Košnjek, who believes that a nuclear option is an intriguing one for Slovenia since the country already possesses its own know-how and experience in this department.
However, he added that the project is a sensitive issue for the public as well as for Slovenia's neighbouring countries.
Gorazd Marinček of environmental NGO Rovo said that Slovenia needed to reduce its energy consumption at least by a third before any energy source consideration.
Regarding the NEK project, which envisages the replacement of the existing reactor after its planned closure in 2043, he pointed out that nuclear technology was developing so quickly that any such planning was irrelevant and inefficient at least by 2030.
The head of Elektro Maribor's management Boris Sovič agreed that consumer consumption would remain on the rise and resulted in increasing demands and necessary strengthening of the grid.
According to him, Slovenia's electricity distribution system is in the middle of an intense investment cycle.
To provide a strong and cutting-edge network, the country should invest between EUR 1.2 billion and 1.6 billion in the next decade in case it opts for building bigger stations. If it replaces the existing ones with smaller plants, then it would need to earmark even more, EUR 3-5 billion.
"The more we oppose bigger plants, the more we will have to invest in the distribution network," he said.
Slovenia is currently considered one of the most reliable countries in the world in terms of electricity supply due to a stable network and an appropriate level of self-sufficiency, Sovič added, highlighting that the country will need to decide on its future strategy and bear in mind that a mistake could lead to energy poverty and social instability.
Asked about the second NEK reactor, he replied that Slovenia should take into consideration all the options, including constructing a new reactor or building hydro or solar power plants.
The debate also focused on energy transition challenges, with Košnjek saying that a transition to carbon-neutral society was inevitable and would have to be paid for in a way that would not result in energy poverty.
He thus highlighted the importance of the national energy plan, including in renewable sources and reducing carbon emissions.