Nuclear Power in Slovenia

(Updated July 2020)

  • Slovenia has shared a nuclear power reactor with Croatia since 1981.
  • The country is currently considering adding a second unit at the Krško nuclear power plant.
 

 

Operable nuclear power capacity

 

Electricity sector

Total generation (in 2017): 16.3 TWh

Generation mix: nuclear 6.3 TWh (39%); coal 4.8 TWh (29%); hydro 4.1 TWh (25%); natural gas 0.5 TWh (3%); biofuels & waste 0.3 TWh (2%); solar 0.3 TWh (2%).

Import/export balance: 0.5 TWh net export

Total consumption: 13.5 TWh

Per capita consumption: 6600 kWh in 2017

Source: International Energy Agency, Electricity Information 2019. Data for year 2017

Both imports and exports in 2017 were significant at about 9.1 and 9.7 TWh respectively; imports were mainly from Austria (3.7 TWh) and Croatia (4.5 TWh); 6.6 TWh was exported to Italy and 2.6 TWh to Croatia. At the end of 2017, net installed electricity generating capacity was 3.6 GWe.a

Nuclear power industry

Reactors operating in Slovenia

 

Slovenia has a 696 MWe Westinghouse nuclear reactor in operation, Krško 1, which is jointly owned by Croatia. This pressurized water reactor was the first Western nuclear power plant in eastern Europe. Construction started in 1975 and the unit was connected to the grid in 1981, entering commercial operation in 1983. In 2001 its steam generators were replaced and the plant was uprated by 6%, followed by an additional 3% subsequently. Its operational lifetime was designed to be 40 years, but a 20-year extension was confirmed in mid-2015, subject to inspections in 2023 and 2033.

Krško is owned and operated by Nuklearna Elektrarna Krško (NEK), jointly owned by Croatia's Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP Group) and Slovenia's GEN Energija. NEK produces and supplies electricity exclusively for the two partners, who each own 50% of its total output. Krško operates in base-load mode and achieves high capacity factors (over 100% in 2017).

An application towards a second reactor of 1100 to 1600 MWe at the Krško nuclear plant was submitted to the country's ministry of economy by GEN Energija in January 2010. Parliament was expected to decide on this in 2011, and the project – referred to as JEK 2 – remains an objective, though the required legislation has been sidelined. In May 2020 the government of Slovenia stated that it would decide whether or not to proceed with a second unit at Krško by 2027.

Fuel cycle

Operational low- and intermediate-level waste is stored at Krško, as is used fuel.

In February 2017 Holtec was confirmed as contractor for establishing a dry cask storage facility for used fuel at Krško. The facility is expected to begin operation in 2022.

The 1996 strategy for long-term management of used fuel recommends direct disposal of it, but leaves open the possibility of a later decision to reprocess it. In mid-2015 the intergovernmental commission responsible for the plant agreed to construct a dry storage facility for used fuel. The commission has requested a plan for the disposal of used fuel and decommissioning the plant, and in 2015 said that until this programme is developed and approved by both the Slovenian and Croatian governments, payments made by the two countries into a decommissioning fund would remain at the current level. Each country is responsible for half of the waste.

A permanent repository for low- and intermediate-level waste is planned at Vrbina, near the Krško plant. Site selection was undertaken over five years, and compensation of €5 million per year will be paid to the local community. The repository will consist of two silos holding 9400 m3 of material, enough for Slovenia's share of Krško arisings plus other Slovenian radioactive waste. In mid-2014, Slovenia allocated €157 million for the project. Croatia may participate, or will build its own repository.

Research and development

Slovenia has a 250 kW Triga research reactor operating since 1966 at the Josef Stefan Institute, which is a major research establishment and also operates a nuclear training centre.

Regulation, safety and non-proliferation

Krško is supervised and licensed by the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration (SNSA), as well as by international expert missions organized by the IAEA, EU, WANO, among others.

The Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure is responsible for environmental approvals.

The Agency for Radwaste Management (ARAO) is responsible for managing all radioactive waste.

Non-proliferation

Slovenia has been a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty since 1992, and in 2000 the Additional Protocol on its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency entered into force. It has been party to the Paris Convention on civil liability for nuclear damage since 2001 and the supplementary Brussels Convention since 2003.


Notes & references

a. Electricity data from International Energy Agency's Electricity Information 2019. [Back]


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