Slovenia moving away from sustainable development
The goal itself is good, but the proposed measures are not in line with it and are in fact degrading the key pillars of sustainable energy sector in that the document envisages the construction of fossil fuel power plants, powered by natural gas.
The nuclear scientists believe Slovenia should set a more ambitious energy and climate plan, which should centre on the extension of the lifespan of the country's existing nuclear power plant as well as on the construction of a new reactor in Krško.
In the document, sent to the Infrastructure Ministry, the scientist claim that the draft National Energy and Climate Plan, which was presented in August, is decreasing the key criteria for the three energy pillars of the energy sector - transport, heating and cooling, and electricity.
Nuclear energy was not given the attention it deserves, said Tomaž Žagar, the head of the association.
He believes the government document hints at replacing nuclear energy with natural gas. The planned measures will raise the price of electricity and expose Slovenian citizens to the risk of energy poverty, he said.
Slovenia would thus become more dependant on imports while its carbon footprint will not improve, Žagar believes.
"Nuclear energy accounts for one quarter of all energy produced in the EU, and in Slovenia the share is at 40%. It is an important step towards a carbon-free society, and this can partly be achieved by expanding the life span of power plants," Žagar said.
He believes the Fukushima accident prompted decision-makers to move away from nuclear energy "and it is our task to put it back in development plans".
The association sent concrete proposals concerning nuclear energy in Slovenia today and in the future to the Infrastructure Ministry.
The National Energy and Climate Plan is only setting the course of action until 2030, while a more long-term strategy will be presented in the energy concept, which is still in the making.
"There it will say how many gas-fired power plants we would need to replace the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant or the Krško Nuclear Power Station," he said.
Leon Cizelj, the head of the department for reactor technology at the Jožef Stefan Institute, said the draft plan should state that Slovenia as a nuclear country must provide for the national nuclear infrastructure, which also included tertiary education and financing of research.
"Slovenia should finance research exclusively at researchers' request or else we will be buying technology only from the Chinese," he added.
According to Žagar, the National Energy and Climate Plan should also highlight the role of hydro power. Only nuclear and hydro power have been proved to contribute to decarbonisation, he noted.