PR:For Stronger Voice of Residents of the Highlands in the Siting Process for the Disposal of High-level Waste

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=> CZECH version of this press release

Press Release dated March 23, 2016

For Stronger Voice of Residents of the Highlands in the Siting Process for the Disposal of High-level Waste

The project „For Stronger Voice of Residents of the Highlands in Search of a High-level Radioactive Waste Repository“, which has been managed by Calla - Association for Preservation of the Environment since September 2014, has finished. The aim was to strengthen the rights of the municipalities in the siting process for a geological disposal facility with a focus on the Highlands (“Vysočina”) Region. The Czech state has identified the three sites in this region (Hrádek near Jihlava, Horka near Budišov and Kraví hora between Bystřice nad Pernštejnem and Tišnov) as suitable for the final geological disposal of spent nuclear fuel and other high-level waste. The possibilities of the mayors and the public to defend their interests are highly limited and do not meet the requirements for effective participation as it is understood by modern European approaches.

During the project, these activities were realized:

  • 10 public meetings were held and attracted 600 visitors;
  • 6 editions of the newsletters “Nuclear-free Highlands” (i.e. “Bezjaderná Vysočina”) and “Nuclear Waste? No, Thank You!” (i.e. “Jaderný odpad? Děkujeme, nechceme!“) were issued and distributed amongst 4,000 readers and the representatives of the Vysočina Region;
  • Information leaflets reached the mailboxes of more than 3,500 households;
  • Outdoor display cases were installed in 5 municipalities and permanent indoor information stands were set up in other 4 locations
  • Several 100 news were published on the new websites, and with the estimated web traffic of more than 20,000 visitors;
  • Activity of associations called “Bezjaderná vysočina“, “Zdravý domov Vysočina”, “Nechceme úložiště Kraví hora” and “2. Alternativa”, i.e. the watchdogs which monitor the acts of or cooperate with local municipalities, was restored;
  • 8 training workshops for active citizens took place, inter alia on individual work with the media, politicians, or campaign planning, and were attended by 145 people;
  • 300 active citizens are regularly informed about developments in the siting process for a geological disposal facility;
  • Legal advice and pattern legal submissions were published in order to help citizens and associations to obtain information and participate in decision-making;
  • Over 100 inhabitants expressed their views on the update of the Concept of Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management, and over 150 people commented on the proposal for the update Principles of Territorial Development of the Vysočina Region.

Edvard Sequens of Calla said:"It is great that people began to even more explore the ways in which they can act to influence the future of their communities. The cooperation of people in the sites selected by the state gives a hope that they will manage to push through conceptual changes in legislation and in the practice of the responsible institutions."

Jana Vitnerová of the Bezjaderná Vysočina association said:"The siting process for a geological disposal facility has been going on for 22 years and it will still take some time. It is not easy to keep the NGO work active for so long. A fresh breeze coming with the project has helped us not to become “passivists“, to get inspired and also gain new supporters.”

To realize this project, Calla has received financial support of 939,810 CZK from the EEA Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 in the framework of CZ03 NGO Programme which has been also dedicated to support of the civil society and development of democracy and transparency. The grant was provided by The Civil Society Development Foundation.

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