Construction of nuclear waste repository to start in 2022

Krško – The construction of a special storage facility for low- and intermediate-level waste at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) is expected to start at the beginning of 2022, as the project is in the final stages of obtaining necessary documentation and selecting contractors.

The environmental impact assessment has been completed and the environmental consent is final. Moreover, the building permit for the repository that will be built at the Vrbina area in the vicinity of the N-plant is expected shortly.

Following a revision of the investment programme carried out this year, the project, which is behind schedule, is expected to cost one tenth more than the original estimate.

The price tag is now EUR 194 million, and it includes compensation to the Krško municipality for restricted use of space during the investment, Sandi Viršek, the head of the national Radioactive Waste Agency (ARAO), recently told the press.

The funds have been ring-fenced in the fund for NEK’s decommissioning. The contractor is expected to be picked this year with the construction estimated to take nearly three years. A trial launch is expected to take place in late 2023 or early 2024, he added.

The project involves the construction of a technology and administration-services building as well as a 55-metre deep and 27-metre wide silo that will serve as a disposal unit, mainly for NEK waste (93%) but also for waste produced by hospitals, industry and research institutions that has so far been stored near Ljubljana.

Low- and intermediate-level waste will be stored in concrete containers. The silo will accept up to 990 containers, meaning there should be enough storage space for Slovenia’s half of all NEK waste and half of the waste from the decommissioning of the power plant, Viršek said.

The project was approved in 2014 and the trial phase was initially expected in 2020. NEK currently stores these two types of waste.