Will there be a nuclear fuel plant in Bystřice nad Pernštejnem?

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The Institute of Nuclear Fuel in Prague (ÚJP Praha a.s.) plans to build a nuclear fuel plant for production of nuclear fuel for VVER reactors and alloying depleted uranium in Bystřice nad Pernštejnem. The design capacity is 450 tons of processed uranium oxide per year (800 fuel assemblies). So far ÚJP Praha a.s. management has not clarified for which client a nuclear fuel plant should serve. According to the investor ÚJP Invest, s.r.o., the EIA process for the plan has been substantially completed since December 2013. ÚJP Invest, s.r.o. with its registered capital of 200,000 Czech crowns seems more like an agent or developer. Who is the right investor then? TVEL.ru provides information about ÚJP Praha, a.s. being a subcontractor (together with ÚJV Řež, a.s.) from April 2012 for the Czech company ALVEL, a.s. that was founded by the companies ALTA.cz and TVEL.ru in January 2012. TVEL is a manufacturer and supplier of nuclear fuel for Russia's nuclear reactors.

Arguments for the construction of the plant are: the plant will increase energy security of the Czech Republic and employ around 250 people. Counterarguments are: the link between the plant and the Russian state-owned company TVEL, rejection of the nuclear fuel production for military industry (in fact, the plant should produce cca 500 tonnes of military materials per year), technological risks with reference to a similar project in Hanau, security risks associated with the production of nuclear fuel and low employment of local people in contrast to the original promised figure (presumably, there is going to be a high number of specialized staff). The amount of classified or inaccurate information causes concerns and opposition to the project.

Currently, the non-governmental organisation 'Bystřičáci' considers a referendum announcement, if efforts to build a nuclear fuel plant shall continue. There is a real chance that after the municipal elections in September / October 2014 ÚJP project gets back on the town meeting agenda. Other sites for the plant under consideration, which so far have been identified by ÚJP, are the villages of Zábědov near Nový Bydžov town and Havraň near Most town. Neither of them are interested.

Olga Kališová, Calla (June 12, 2014)