On the 21st of April 2023, a Croatian group with more than twenty members arrived at the National Radioactive Waste Repository (NRR) in Mochovce. It consisted mainly of representatives of local communities from the region where the Croatian repository is to be constructed and representatives of the Fund for financing the decommissioning of the Krško nuclear power plant. In Slovakia, in addition to experts responsible for the operation of the National Radioactive Waste Repository, they also met with representatives of the local self-government and representatives of various communities in order to obtain answers to questions related to the operation of the nuclear facility.
According to the director of Fund for financing the decommissioning of the Krško nuclear power plant, Josip Lebegner, survey works have already been carried out at the selected site in Croatia to determine the state of natural radiation background, groundwater, soil and other important parameters, and activities with the local community, such as electronic counselling, or opportunities for incentives for the development of the given region have begun.
The Fund has been established by the Republic of Croatia, which jointly covers the Fund´s liabilities. The Fund is responsible for its activities to the central state administration body for the field of energy, which is the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. The Fund is in charge of activities related to the collection, preservation and increase of the value of funds to finance the creation, revision and implementation of the Programme for the Krško nuclear power plant decommissioning and Programme for the management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel from the Krško nuclear power plant.
As part of the presentation and inspection of the National Radioactive Waste Repository in Mochovce, the Croatians had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the activities related to management of radioactive waste with an emphasis on the safe method of its disposal, to inspect the disposal and control systems and operation of the individual facilities of the Repository in Mochovce. A similar disposal system could be used in Croatia for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste.
The presentation and inspection was followed by a discussion of community representatives from Croatia with representatives of the municipalities around the Repository in Mochovce, including mayors, beekeepers, fishermen and farmers who live in the region where the Repository and the nuclear power plant are located in the immediate vicinity. The local residents emphasized that at first they were also worried about the negative impact of the nuclear facilities in their vicinity, but during three decades of coexistence, the operated nuclear facilities had a rather positive impact on them.
The benefits, include, for example, creating the new jobs, keeping young people in the region and increasing the value of real estate. From the taxes paid by the operators of nuclear facilities, it was possible to implement various projects to improve the local infrastructure in the surrounding municipalities. For example, construction and repair of roads and carriageways, reconstruction of buildings, provision of sewerage/drainage system in municipalities, or support selected projects of local communities for their leisure activities. On the contrary, the presence of contaminants in individual elements of the environment, agricultural products, in milk, meat and honey, despite concerns, was not identified in analyses carried out at regular time intervals. Local residents emphasized that they did not even face a problem with the distribution and sale of local products due to the presence of nuclear facilities in the region.
Representatives of company JAVYS, through a joint meeting and a meaningful discussion between the Croatian and Slovak communities, contributed to strengthening the cooperation between the future repository operator in Croatia and representatives of their local communities, which is essential during their journey towards building a safe Radioactive Waste Repository in Croatia. In accordance with the policy of JAVYS, the company is ready to continue to provide services to foreign partners using its vast experience in the field of decommissioning of nuclear facilities and management of radioactive waste and thus helping them in their progress. Special thanks also go to representatives of the local municipalities from the Repository vicinity, who were more than willing to openly discuss the experience from presence of operated nuclear facilities in their region and share their valuable experience with the Croatian community. The Krško NPP decommissioning fund will continue to cooperate with the local community in Croatia, while informing the residents and raising their awareness in this specific area.