Croatia is among ten European Union member states that have asked the European Commission to recognize nuclear power plants as a low-carbon energy source as part of the bloc’s ten-year transition to transforming energy sources to cope with climate change. .
“To win the climate battle, we need nuclear energy,” said a statement signed by representatives of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, France, Finland and the Czech Republic.
Relying on the ongoing energy crisis in Europe, countries propose nuclear energy as a “leading source of affordable, sustainable and independent energy” that can protect EU consumers from “exposure to price volatility”.
Nuclear power plants produce over 26% of the electricity produced in the European Union.
The European Commission is expected to make a decision in the coming months on whether the regulation will also include nuclear energy and natural gas as green investments.
Croatia signed the document on October 11th, the same day a large group of French businessmen visited the country, along with representatives of the French Employers’ Association – Medef.
French President Emmanuel Macron is also expected to visit Croatia in October or November. In Europe, the French are the leaders in nuclear energy technology, and have shown interest in investing in Croatia’s energy sector.
Croatian electricity consumption is about 18 terawatt hours. Croatia imports just under half of its energy needs – electricity from some directions, while natural gas only from Russia.
Through Slovenia’s Krsko Nuclear Power Plant, which is half-owned by Croatia and Slovenia, Croatia meets about 15 percent of its energy needs.
What is the situation with the European green transition now, how do the nuclear power plants fit into it and where is Croatia’s place in all this?
“Over the next 20 years, Europe’s green transition is accompanied by a host of questions in technological and financial terms, and in this sense nuclear energy can be a transitional solution and possibly a permanent solution,” Igor told Radio Free Europe. Dekanic, from the Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering in Zagreb.
European countries hold different positions. While France gets more than 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants in 2011, Germany decided to gradually shut down all its nuclear power plants.
“The German decision has always been controversial. Now even more so when Angela Merkel is no longer chancellor. Perhaps Germany will reconsider its energy strategy. France is in favor of nuclear power plants and major European countries are facing a decision to turn nuclear power as a way to reduce carbon emissions. “In the coming years, perhaps a consensus can be reached on this,” Dekanic said.
While Marko Bioqina, editor-in-chief for economics and finance at the media group Hanza Media in Croatia, told Radio Free Europe that a number of countries in the region are already investing in nuclear energy.
“Hungary is building a new unit at the Paks nuclear power plant together with the Russians and they are interested in this initiative because through it they can transfer part of the costs to European funds. “Slovaks are building, then the Poles do not have any nuclear power plants, they are still supplied by coal-fired power plants and I do not see how they can stop the coal without putting nuclear energy into operation,” said Bioqina.
According to him, a series of investments made by Slovenia signal that they are seriously interested in building the second block of the nuclear power plant and the question arises – is Croatia a partner?
“Slovenia will find it very difficult to achieve this if nuclear energy is not included in European energy regulations. I think that the Croatian government, in addition to perhaps assessing that it would not be bad for Croatia to participate in this project, it also signed this letter to lend a hand to Slovenia and Hungary, countries that are very important for Croatia to gain Schengen membership “, concludes Bioqina.
What is the attitude of the authorities?
Speaking to reporters on October 11th, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic did not deny or confirm Croatia’s interest in entering into a partnership with the Slovenes to build the second power plant block.
“Croatia has its own energy strategy. We support renewable energy sources, and support the supply of the kind of energy that will emit as little greenhouse gases as possible. Croatia is a 50 per cent co-owner of the Krsko Nuclear Power Plant, which has supplied electricity for the past forty years. So we will use it. “Nuclear energy has the least damage to the environment if everything is safe,” Plenkovic said.
The Director of the Strategy and Development Sector at the Croatian Electricity Company, Ivan Androçeec, was more specific on this issue.
On October 12, he told reporters that Croatia is making long-term plans and that once the Slovenian side submits a document and then prepares it, Croatia will consider whether to enter into such a project.
This, according to him, also depends on the other side and that the issue belongs to joint negotiations.
A added that in the long run no energy source that could contribute to decarbonization should be excluded.
“One of these sources is the nuclear power plant in the long run. “The more countries unite, the faster and more favorable the process will be”, said Androçec.
Objections from the Greens
Environmental activists oppose such projects by raising the question of why the state does not allow citizens to install solar panels in their homes for electricity supply.
“Neither national nor EU-level energy and climate policy should be based on nuclear energy as a solution to the climate crisis. “We believe that focusing on investing in such an extremely expensive project, the construction of which would cost the citizens of Croatia billions of euros in public money, would be an extremely harmful step for the citizens, the climate and the environment,” said Luka Tomac. , leader of the Zagreb Green Action.
Problems with mining, transportation and especially nuclear waste disposal are a major environmental and social problem, and it is still unclear why the Croatian Government is not focusing on solarizing thousands of rooftops across the country and involving citizens in energy transition, he adds./REL/
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