PR:Towards a deep geological repository, regardless of the people’s opinions?

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=> CZECH version of this press release

Press Release of Platform Against Deep Repository dated November 29, 2017

Towards a deep geological repository, regardless of the people’s opinions?

Mayors and other representatives from sites threatened by a high-level radioactive waste repository have again criticized the continued chaotic and non-transparent state’s procedure in the siting proces for a deep geological repository at today's Assembly of the Platform Against Deep Repository. They informed present members of both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate about violations of obligations and secrecy of information by the competent state authorities. Mayors and other representatives invited a new political representation to launch a fair dialogue on this crucial issue and to submit a promised Act that would strengthen the rights of municipalities when deciding on a repository.

At the Members‘ Assembly in Prague today, mayors and other representatives of the affected villages and towns from the Platform Against Deep Repository had a debate with Senator Ladislav Kos and Jitka Seitlová, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Spatial planning, Public Administration and the Environment. Together they agreed on the need to strengthen the rights of municipalities in the siting process for a deep geological repository, to set up consistent and transparent rules for the selection of safe site and technologies, and to launch a fair dialogue between the state and municipalities and citizens from the sites under consideration.

The mayors discussed in detail the possibilities of changing the chaotic and non-transparent state of the state in the siting proces for a repository. In the last year, Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA) has changed its procedure several times. In December 2016, RAWRA requested a two-year extension of the exploration permits for the siting process for a deep repository in seven sites [1]. After the Ministry of the Environment rejected the request, RAWRA began to argue that the exploration permits were not actually necessary, but at the same time it appealed against the decision of the Ministry of the Environment [2]. When the Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec acknowledged RAWRA’s appeal, it announced that exploration permits are needed, but only for the last few days of the year 2017 (RAWRA shortened the request for an extension of permits until the end of 2017)[3]. Such a process can not trigger any confidence.

It is disappointing that the Ministry of the Environment has endorsed the National Programme for Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management issued on 22nd November at the end of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process [4]. In particular, the Platformers criticize the fact that the Programme does not contain well-prepared and more options for spent fuel management (long-term storage, reprocessing, etc.) and that there was no attempt to involve the public concerned beyond the formal procedure, despite the previous commitments of RAWRA.

Further examples of the problematic approach of the responsible state authorities are mentioned in the Annex.

The issue of the radioactive waste repository is far from having an effect only with the inhabitants of the regions concerned. Major problems are related to the transport of hazardous radioactive waste and its possible import from abroad. For example, Slovakia is considering the possibility of exporting this radioactive waste abroad. Earlier construction of a repository in the Czech Republic would lead to pressure on the import of foreign radioactive waste to us.

However, the possibility of joint repositories must be dealt with in a conceptual and transparent way – that is, by an agreement at the level of the European Union or an interstate agreement. There are geologically appropriate territories in EU countries in much less populated areas than the Czech Republic. The Platform Against Deep Repository has decided to hold the 4th annual Day Against Repository (DAR) of joint actions to draw attention to nuclear waste problems. The DAR will take place on April 21, 2018.

Petr Nohava, Mayor of Pluhův Žďár, and spokesman for the Platform Against Deep Repository, said: "Mayors, representatives and associations from the Platform agreed on the necessity of legislative strengthening of the rights of municipalities when deciding on the repository. We will continue to strive for a fair state-based dialogue on the repository. We believe that the state will finally begin to fulfill what it has promised."

Michael Forman, Mayor of Horažďovice, said: "Mayors are disappointed with the chaotic approach, constant changes in the rules and violations of the agreed obligations by the state authorities. Arrogant behaviour of the state towards municipalities will not achieve anything."

Platform Against Deep Repository associates 35 members (23 municipalities and 12 associations) and its aim is to enforce such a way of finding a solution that would be open, transparent and which by law would adequately guarantee the rights of the municipality and the public's rightful welfare.

Further information can be provided by:

Annexes to download:

  1. RAWRA starts another round of disputes with municipalities – it plans to extend the exploration permits of today's seven sites by two years, a press release by the Platform of 13th December 2016.
  2. RAWRA's statement on the suspension of the procedure to extend the validity of the exploration permits in 7 sites of 2nd March 2017.
  3. RAWRA‘s notification about a new request of 22nd November 2017 to extend the permit for the exploration arreas in the Čihadlo site only until the end of 2017.
  4. Ministry of the Environment’s statement on Update of the National Programme for Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management of November 22, 2017 accessible in the CENIA Database.
  5. 5.0 5.1 For protection against automatic email address robots searching for addresses to send spam to them this email address has been made unreadable for them. To get a correct mail address you have to displace "AT" by the @-symbol and "DOT" by the dot-character (".").