Greenpeace to challenge completion of Slovak nuclear reactors

Thursday, May 29, 2008

BRATISLAVA (AFP) - Environmental group Greenpeace will lodge a legal challenge to Slovak authorities' go ahead for the completion of two nuclear power stations in the country's west, a representative said Wednesday.

The organisation will complain to the supreme court against the go ahead for completion of Mochovce's third and fourth nuclear reactors without prior environmental impact assessments being carried out.

"We should lodge the complaint by the end of this week," local Greenpeace office energy campaigner Karel Polanecky said. "We believe the court will agree that an error was committed."

The Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority (UJD) has argued that a previous building permit dating from 1986 is sufficient for building work to continue.

Under European law, environmental impact assessments must be carried out for major projects.

Slovakia's biggest electricity producer, Slovenske Elektrarne, which is around two-thirds owned by Italian power giant ENEL, wants to complete the two stalled reactors by 2012 and 2013. It has carried out its own non-binding assessment of the environmental impact of the reactors.

The country's left-dominated government is keen to see the reactors completed as soon as possible as the booming Central European economy faces the prospect of importing 20 percent of its electricity in 2009, after a second Soviet-era reactor at Jaslovske Bohunice is closed at the end of this year.

The closures were demanded by the European Commission as a condition for Slovakia's 2004 entry into the EU.

Prime Minister Robert Fico attacked the closure order as "absurd" during a nuclear forum in Prague last week with the economy ministry later confirming that Bratislava will seek a postponement of the second reactor's shutdown from Brussels.

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