Czech Republic – Dukovany and Temelín
German environmentalists have started a petition to demand their government to take action on faulty welding work in the first reactor of the Temelín nuclear power station in the south of the Czech Republic. Over 75,000 signatures will be handed over before summer to environment minister Hendricks. More information is posted at www.change.org/p/stop-temelin-investigate-dangerous-welding-seams
During the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF) in Prague on 23 May, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka declared that he saw no other way for the country's energy mix other than nuclear power. He criticised attempts to diminish its role, hinting at criticism from neighbouring Austria and Germany about Czech plans to expand its nuclear fleet with new reactors in Dukovany and Temelín. He expected the environmental impact assessment for new capacity in Dukovany to be finalised in 2018.
Slovakia – Mochovce 3,4 and New Bohunice
The Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico announced during the same ENEF meeting that Slovakia will finalise the Mochovce 3,4 project no matter what. According to Euractiv on 26 May, he said that Slovakia will always strive for the further development of nuclear energy: "Our government will never abandon this policy and will always fight for the right to choose the way for the production of energy in the future." The Slovak Industry Minister Peter Žiga said at the same event that although the plan for new reactors at the Jaslovské Bohunice site is technically prepared, current economic conditions are not favourable: "We are waiting for better times, when the prices of electricity at the wholesale market will be a bit higher."
In the run-up to this year's Chernobyl anniversary, Global2000, the Austrian member of Friends of the Earth, found elevated tritium levels near the Mochovce nuclear power station in Slovakia. In the Malé Kozmálovce reservoir they found 1347 Bq/l, around 13 times higher than the drinking water limit.
Hungary – Paks II
According to sources, the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) 7th Review Conference discussed the recent law changes in Hungary that could infringe on the independence of the nuclear regulator HAEA. Also the European Commission continued communication with Hungary on the issue. A final result of its inquiry is expected in the coming months.
The Hungarian government appointed former Paks director and mayor of the city of Paks János Süli as a special minister without portfolio for the Paks II project. Rosatom opened a tender procedure for the turbine building and related accessories.
EnergiaKlub and Greenpeace filed a court appeal on 24 May against the approval of the environmental license for Paks II.
Finland – Olkiluoto 3, Hanhikivi
The owner of the Olkiluoto 3 project, TVO, announced it will drop its compensation claims in the international arbitration court against Areva. This in an attempt to ensure that the Olkiluoto 3 reactor will go into a test phase in the coming year.
The town of Helsinki decided to try to get out of Fennovoima, the company behind the Hanhikivi project. This will not be easy, though, because it is only is a minority shareholder in Vantaan Energia, the company over which it owns shares in Fennovoima.
Nuclear regulator STUK announced recently that it will not be able to process the Fennovoima documentation before the end of 2018. Finland is facing parliamentary elections in April 2018.
Russia – the floating reactors of the "Akademik Lomonosov"
Greenpeace Russia made an assessment of the nuclear regulatory oversight over the construction of a floating nuclear power station in the centre of St. Petersburg, 3.5 km from the Hermitage. It came to the conclusion that there is only one annual pre-announced inspection visit by the Russian nuclear regulator Rostechnadzor. It calls for the same regulatory oversight of the entire project, including construction and transport, as other Russian nuclear power stations. A proposal along those lines from the Yablokov fraction in the town's parliament environmental committee was approved on 1 June and has to be confirmed later this month in a plenary session.
Spain – Santa Maria de Garoña, Almarez
During a seminar in the European Parliament, Spanish and Portuguese Parliament members asked that attention be given to the upcoming life-time extension of the Almarez nuclear power plant in Spain, as well as for the plans to restart Santa Maria de Garoña. They demanded public participation before the final decisions for these life-time extensions.
The restart of Santa Maria de Garoña by regulator CNS been conditional on upgrade investments. While 50% owner Iberdrola already said it wanted to refrain from re-opening the reactor, Endesa, the owner of the other 50%, prefers to wait for the decision of the Ministry of Energy.
Initially, the submission period for a request for life-time extension of the Almarez nuclear reactor would run out on 7 June. However, the Ministry of Energy with the support of CNS changed the procedure so that it now still has two years to do so.
Belgium – Tihange and Doel
Preparations for a human chain from Tihange (Belgium), over Maastricht (Netherlands) to Aachen (Germany) on 25 June over 90 km are in full swing. The event is receiving support from German and Dutch municipalities most affected by the power station, as well as from a broad range of people from culture and media, including the annual Dutch PinkPop rock festival. More information: www.chain-reaction-tihange.eu/en/
Belarus – Astravets
During the European Nuclear Energy Forum, 22 May in Prague, Lithuanian vice-minister for the environment Martynas Norbutas heavily criticised the Astravets project, 20 km from the border with Lithuania. He explained among others that the site choice happened without being informed by an environmental impact assessment, and based on population densities in Belarus but excluding Lithuania.
The Lithuanian – Belarussian tensions are expected to influence the Meeting of Parties of the Espoo Convention that takes place June 13‒16 in the Belarussian capital Minsk.
Jan Haverkamp is expert consultant on nuclear energy and energy policy for WISE, Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe, Greenpeace Switzerland and vice-chair of Nuclear Transparency Watch.