Amidst debates on energy dependency and plans to build a second reactor at the Krsko Nuclear Power Plant, an energy expert has come out with the claim that Slovenia does not need nuclear energy but rather better electricity supplies. "Nuclear energy is an option, but the claim that it is necessary is inappropriate," Mihael Tomsic told Mladina.
Tomsic, who works at the Centre for Energy Efficiency at the research institute Jozef Stefan Institute, told the weekly that the 2004 National Energy Programme did not envisage any nuclear activities until 2020. This programme was drafted based on in-depth research and the nuclear option did not come up as a necessity.
Slovenia also needs to tackle nuclear waste and reach agreement with Croatia, which owns half of the Krsko N-plant. A new power plant should not be in exclusive Slovenian ownership, what is more, it should not be state owned, as it needs to be competitive, he said.
According to Tomsic, Slovenia (which gets 40% of its electricity from nuclear energy) could refrain from building a second reactor if it improved the use of water and biomass for energy generation. Wood could replace heating oil and gas for heat generation, and the saved fossil fuels could be used for power generation.
Tomsic also finds absurd the idea that Slovenia could become an exporter of energy, considering the limited resources. "We could build a few nuclear plants and produce enormous amounts of energy, but why? There is nothing wrong if Slovenia permanently imports 10, 20 or even 30% of electricity…we can get it from all sides."
Tomsic was also critical of the privatisation of the energy sector, wondering how two state-owned companies would compete in the market. He believes the division has to do with the coal lobby from Velenje, which is backed by the utility HSE, and the lobby of Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak, who wants to develop the Posavje region around the Krsko N-plant.
It is problematic, he said, that the authorities are taking great investment decisions such as the construction of a sixth block of the Sostanj coal-fired plant. "This will cement the coal option for the next 40 years."