Annual report 2020 on radiation protection and nuclear safety in the Republic of Slovenia
The report summarizes all the developments related to nuclear and radiological safety in 2020. The report in English is available on the website website.
During the year under review, a fundamental objective of nuclear and radiological safety “The protection of people and the environment from the unnecessary harmful effects of ionizing radiation.” has been completed.
The year 2020 was marked by the Covid-19 epidemic. The Krško Nuclear Power Plant (Krško NPP) and others adapted their work to the conditions, thus preventing the epidemic from having adverse effects on nuclear and radiation safety. As part of its activities, the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration (SNSA) also monitored the impact of Covid-19 on nuclear and radiation safety and adapted its work to the conditions of epidemic activity by always complying effectively in its administrative and supervisory tasks.
In 2020, the Krško nuclear power plant operated safely. The Krško nuclear power plant reported six events which did not affect the population or the environment.
The Krško nuclear power plant continued its work on the third phase of safety improvements of the Safety Upgrade Program (SUP), such as the construction of the Bunkered Building 2 (BB2), the installation of security systems. ‘injection of additional long-term coolant and coolant and upgrading of the emergency technical and operational support center. Most of the SUP upgrades were completed in 2021.
One of the most important activities of the last period of the SUP is the construction of a dry storage facility for spent fuel. In December 2020, the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning issued a building permit for a dry storage facility for spent fuel in the area of the Krško nuclear power plant. The process of licensing dry storage under the Nuclear Safety Act has also started. This is a lengthy administrative procedure, which was not completed in 2020. Preparations for the construction of a dry storage facility for spent fuel started in March 2021, and the transfer of the first part of the spent fuel elements to the dry storage facility is scheduled for early 2023.
In 2020, preparations for the third periodic safety review (PSR) began. The Krško nuclear power plant prepared a PSR program approved by the SNSA at the end of 2020. The third PSR was launched in February 2021 and will run until June 2023, when the final safety review report as well as the plan improvement actions will be submitted to the SNSA. for review and approval.
Last year, the implementation of the action plan prepared by the SNSA and the Krško nuclear power plant in the framework of the European thematic peer review in the field of aging started. The measures implemented in 2020 mainly included thematic inspections in the areas of aging cables, shielded pipelines and reactor vessels. The results show that the Krško nuclear power plant has a well-developed aging monitoring and control process, which is also reflected in the good condition of components, systems and structures.
In 2020, the Inter-State Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of the Inter-State Agreement on Co-ownership of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant adopted a review of the decommissioning programs for the Krško nuclear power plant and the disposal of radioactive waste and fuel. worn-out nuclear power plant in Krško. The newly adopted programs serve as a basis for determining the contributions that GEN Energija and Hrvatska elektroprivreda, as owners, must each pay into their own fund to finance the decommissioning and disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia has increased the amount of the contribution to the Slovenian Fund and imposed on the company GEN energija, doo, the obligation that from August 2020 it will pay into the Fund 4.8 EUR for each MWh of electricity obtained from the Krško nuclear power plant.
The Radioactive Waste Agency (ARAO) continued its activities for the construction of a repository for low and intermediate level radioactive waste in Vrbina near Krško. A public presentation of the environmental impact report in Slovenia and a transboundary environmental impact assessment procedure were carried out, which had not yet been completed at the end of the year. Given the dynamics of the activities and actions of the bodies involved, the challenge that the storage facilities for this waste at the Krško nuclear power plant will be met and that there will be no landfill available remains very relevant. Despite the difficult situation due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the ARAO carried out the collection, transport and secure storage of institutional radioactive waste without any problem.
The central storage facility for radioactive waste in Brinje (CSRAO) operated without particular events.
At the Boršt hydrometallurgical tailings landfill of the former Žirovski Vrh uranium mine, the landslide issues have not been resolved, so the search for solutions to close the landfill continues.
In 2020, the planned monitoring of radioactivity in the environment went well. On the basis of the results of the measurements, it was established that the burden of the Slovenian population due to the presence of artificial radionuclides in the environment is below all limits set by law and is comparable to previous years. In addition, the operational monitoring of all the installations was carried out according to the planned annual programs, and the activities of discharges of radioactive substances into the environment were below the authorized limit values. As a result, the load on the population was lower than prescribed and negligible compared to the natural background still present.
In 2020, there were no major problems for radiotherapy practitioners. The SNSA handled a total of 13 intervention cases, including eight cases of increased dose field in the transport of scrap materials through the territory of Slovenia.