Delay in nuclear expansion potentially expensive, study finds
Slovenia should build the second reactor at its existing nuclear power station in Krško as soon as possible since a delay of only four years would double the price of electricity, a study commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry has found.
Drawn up by Grant Thornton, a consultancy, the study found that if a second reactor at Krško were to be connected to the grid in 2039 instead of 2035, which is a possibility at the moment, the price of electricity would increase by up to €70 per megawatt hour.
"Users would be paying between €180 and €210 per megawatt hour. The cost of electricity on the annual level would increase by up to €1.4 billion," the study's lead author, the economist Jože P. Damijan, said on 31 May.
This would increase greenhouse gas emissions since renewable sources are often not zero-carbon despite claims to the opposite.
"We would have to import a portion of the electricity from abroad, where production is less clean, often from coal and gas."
He believes these effects will become most evident after Šoštanj, the country's sole coal-fired power station, is wound down. "This is planned for 2033. So even without a delay in the launch of the nuclear reactor, additional costs will arise."
Damijan said that high electricity costs would undermine the competitive edge of businesses, which might decide to relocate their production facilities abroad.
"The optimal scenario is to launch the relevant procedures and build the second reactor as soon as possible so that it can be connected to the grid around 2035."
The study is premised on the projection that demand for electricity in Slovenia will double by 2050 and comes just as the government faces accusations it is dragging its feet on nuclear and giving undue priority to solar despite public support for nuclear energy.
The government has denied the charges but said on several occasions Slovenia might be interested in small modular reactors, a technology that is not yet mature. The existing national energy and climate plan sets 2027 as the deadline to make a decision on Krško 2.