Energy permit granted for second Slovenian reactor

19 July 2021

Slovenia's Ministry of Infrastructure today issued an energy permit to GEN Energija for a proposed second reactor at the existing Krško nuclear power plant, referred to as the JEK2 project. The company noted that while a final decision on whether to construct the new unit has yet to be made, the granting of the permit allows licensing procedures to begin.

How the new unit could look alongside the existing Krško reactor (Image: GEN Energija)

In Slovenia, government permission must be obtained for any power facility with a generating capacity of more than 1 MWe before siting procedures can begin. In an application, the Minister of Economy must be provided with information on the type and size of the proposed plant, conditions for the supply of energy from the plant, as well as plans for its decommissioning at the end of its operating life. GEN Energija submitted its application for such a permit on 31 January 2020. The proposed second unit at Krško will be a pressurised water reactor (PWR) with a generating capacity of about 1100 MWe, supplying 8-12 TWh of electricity per year.

The company announced today that the Ministry of Infrastructure has issued an energy permit for the JEK2 project, calling it "an important milestone on the way to the final decision on increasing nuclear production capacity in Slovenia".

"The energy permit for JEK2 is a milestone with which we start the implementation of administrative procedures and preparation of documentation for investment decisions on JEK2, which is a necessary basis for the final decision on the optimal energy scenario for the future supply of low-carbon, energy independent Slovenia," said Minister of Infrastructure Jernej Vrtovec. "At the same time, with the energy permit for JEK2, we are also opening a public debate with the desire to achieve the widest possible social consensus on the issue of supporting a clean, green energy future."

GEN Energija said its preparation to build a second nuclear reactor unit in Krško is one of the GEN Group's pivotal strategic development projects.

"The feasibility studies carried out so far show that JEK2 is a technically, environmentally and investment-feasible project for Slovenia's future reliable electricity supply, which adequately responds to the key challenges of the energy trilemma and enables Slovenia to effectively face the challenges of the green electricity transition," said GEN Energija CEO Martin Novšak.

Climate strategy

Last week, Slovenia released its Climate Strategy Until 2050, setting out Slovenia's transition to net-zero emissions and climate neutrality by mid-century. The strategy identifies nuclear power as a long-term energy option.

Vrtovec said: "In the Climate Strategy, we have set ourselves the goal of achieving net-zero emissions or climate neutrality by 2050. This is a great challenge and we have important decisions ahead of us that will affect the wellbeing and the environment in which generations will live after us."

"The Climate Strategy and the obtained energy permit for JEK2 open the possibility of achieving the goals of a low-carbon future for Slovenia and the region, in line with the direction indicated by the recently presented European legislative package of measures to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (Fit for 55)," Novšak said.

GEN Energija said the already implemented pre-investment design of the project and many other professional studies - which were the basis for obtaining an energy permit - will be followed by the selection and confirmation of the location, decision-making on the investment and then actual construction.

"GEN will continue to ensure that all steps towards decision-making and construction are transparent and clearly presented to all stakeholders," the company said. It is calling for "data-driven, efficient, transparent and responsible implementation of the JEK 2 project".

During a visit to Krško in May last year, Vrtovec said Slovenia will make a decision by 2027 at the latest on whether to build a second unit at the site.

Krško, a 696 MWe PWR, is Slovenia's only nuclear power plant and generates about one-third of its electricity. The plant, which is co-owned by neighbouring Croatia, began commercial operation in 1981, and a 20-year extension to its initial 40-year operational lifetime was confirmed in mid-2015. GEN Energija incorporates the Slovenian stake in joint Slovene-Croat company Nuklearna Elektrarna Krško, which owns and operates the plant.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News