Slovakia defies EU over nuclear plant closure

Government revokes commitment to close Bohunice by 2000, no final closure date decided

The Slovak government yesterday decided not to close two of four reactors at its Jaslovské Bohunice nuclear power plant by 2000, overturning a pledge made to the EU in 1994, which made the adoption of a plan for the "early closure" of the plant a condition of joining the Union. The decision concerns the plant's so-called "V1" block, which the European Commission believes cannot be upgraded and should be closed down as soon as possible. The Slovak government justified its decision to cancel the 1994 resolution by pointing out that it was spending SKK 8.4bn (euros 188m) on safety upgrades at the plant and that it now "fulfilled international safety requirements." The commitment to close the block was linked to promises of funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development which was never provided, it said. A spokesperson for the economy ministry told ENDS Daily today that the V1 would now be operated "as long as it remains safe," but that no plan had yet been drawn up for its eventual closure . A spokesman for EU enlargement commissioner Hans van den Broek, who was told of the decision during a visit to Slovakia last week, told ENDS Daily today that Slovakia's commitment to close down the V1 block "as soon as possible" was "not enough" and that a "clear indication" of a closure timetable was needed.

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