PR:Underground Research Laboratory Bukov - another 313 milion Czech crowns withdrawn from a nuclear account can be misused

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=> CZECH version of this press release

Press release by Calla dated December 19, 2016

Underground Research Laboratory Bukov-another 313 milion Czech crowns withdrawn from a nuclear account can be misused

Today, the government is to give an approval to provide 313 million CZK (259 million without VAT) from the nuclear account for state enterprise DIAMO without any public tender to ensure the operation of the Underground Research Laboratory (URL) Bukov until 2019 [1]. Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA) commissioned the URL Bukov to be build in finishing underground uranium mines in Dolní Rožínka, where URL Bukov ought to serve for geological works associated with the siting process for a deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel. However, until this day there have not been developed and presented the results of technical-economic study of the suitability of this site for research program for a deep repository in URL Bukov, which should have been completed in 2016 with the ultimate standpoint of the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SONS) pursuant to Governmental Resolution no. 50/2016. In 2015, SONS himself questioned the investment in the URL Bukov[2]. Draft project solutions for URL Bukov, including the necessary technical background, should also only be processed as part of a controversial project called "Research support for project solution for a deep repository", which is supposed to be provided for RAWRA by the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT) [3].

What raises concerns is that the geological subsoil area at the Kraví hora site, where the URL Bukov has been built, differs significantly from the other potential six sites chosen for a deep repository in the Czech Republic. While the tunnel of URL Bukov is in metamorphic rocks, in all other sites there are igneous rocks. Moreover, as it turned out in case of URL Bukov, the geological environment in the site is very complicated, disturbed, and so the URL project had to be fundamentally changed twice in a short time period because of serious difficulties during the excavation [4]. There is also the leakage of water in quantities that were not anticipated and flooded tunnels network is also connected to the mining site, which would exclude building a deep repository [5]. Thus, there is a significant risk that the planned investment of 1.8 billion CZK from public funds is literally going to be buried underground.

Construction of URL Bukov is not in compliance with the valid national programme for radioactive waste management called "The Concept of RAW and SNF Management in the Czech Republic" approved by the government in 2002 . The Concept envisages the construction of an URL only in the final site for a deep repository, when it stipulates its goal: „To prepare all the project supporting documents in order to start a construction of the underground laboratory and to implement long-term experiments to substantiate and confirm the safety of a deep geological repository" by 2030 [6].

We have alerted the public to another possible violation of the legislation about the decision to build the URL Bukov in our press release dated January 8, 2016 [7].

Edvard Sequens, energy consultant of Calla, said: „We support investment in research aiming at finding the safest solution to the problem of nuclear waste. However, there are growing doubts about whether the project URL Bukov is not withdrawing money from the nuclear account, without having served the declared objectives."

More information can be provided by:

Information about the siting process for a deep repository and all the sites is available on: .


  1. Public procurement procedure was not made public in order to protect the exclusive rights (with the use of §63 para. 3 point b) of the Act no. 134/2016 Coll., on public procurement procedure) – Ensuring the uptime and routine maintenance of URL Bukov
  2. SONS commented on the document "Draft addressing the social consequences of closure of uranium mine Rožná in Dolní Rožínka" which also contained a proposal for the further development of URL Bukov paid from public funds:"SONS expresses serious concern that because of the current non-conceptual withdrawal of finances from the nuclear account, for instance construction and operation of the underground research laboratory (URL) Bukov, it may occur in the future that the nuclear account becomes exhausted before the construction or even before the operation of a deep repository in 2065. As a consequence, the Czech Republic would not have a deep repository, nor money for its further development.
    SONS can not currently comment on suitability or unsuitability of the Bukov site for construction and operation of URL, because RAWRA has never contacted SONS about construction of a URL. Generally, however, we can not rule out a situation that results of future exploration work in selected sites in the required depth will prove unsuitability of the site for a URL and the need to build a completely new URL. Therefore, it is necessary to consider that the economic benefits associated with existing mining infrastructure in the site of Bukov presented in the proposal are hypothetical and full depreciation of investments in the URL can not be excluded. Experience from abroad shows that this situation may occur and that and that the optimal solution to minimize the probability is to situate URL at the site of the future deep repository (as with the Onkalo site in Finland)."
  3. The project "Research support for project solution for a deep repository" was to be carried out for ČVUT by Miroslav Elfmark, convicted for fraud, without any knowledge professional researchers, see „Mr. Cheater. This time at the University“, Magazine Reportér October 10, 2016, „ČVUT gets rid of a cheater Elfmark. Probably under pressure from the media and academics“, Lidové noviny, October 13, 2016, programme ČT“, November 21, 2016, and more
  4. The opinion of Mgr. Matěj Machek, Ph.D. of Institute of Geophysics of the CAS, v. v. i. and expert representative of the municipalities in governmental Working Group for Dialogue on a Deep Repository
  5. Hydrogeological research in Underground Research Laboratory Bukov in the Rožná Mine, Lenka Rukavičková et al., Reports on geological investigations, 49, 2016
  6. The Concept of RAW and SNF Management in the Czech Republic for download:
  7. Joint Press Release by NGOs Calla - Association for Preservation of the Environment and Nechceme úložiště Kraví hora (NGO NÚKH) Underground Research Laboratory (URL) Bukov should cost extra 1,8 billion Czech crowns – is that necessary, economic and legal?“
  8. 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 (".").