Electricity

Second unit of Slovenia’s Krško nuclear power plant to cost up to EUR 11 billion

JEK2 Second unit Slovenia Krsko nuclear power plant cost EUR 11 billion

Photo: Matija Sušnik / DZ

Published

June 27, 2023

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Published:

June 27, 2023

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Slovenia is determined to speed up the development of the project for the second reactor of the Krško nuclear power plant and bring it online as soon as 2037, Prime Minister Robert Golob said. Operator GEN energija increased the planned capacity to up to 1.6 GW, which means the investment could be valued at EUR 11 billion.

JEK2, the project for the second reactor in Slovenia’s only nuclear power plant, Krško, requires special legislation to determine the location or even up to three laws, according to Prime Minister Robert Golob, as reported by ePosavje. After recently visiting the facility near the border with Croatia, he told lawmakers in the National Assembly that otherwise the new unit couldn’t be built before 2047.

Slovenia will rely on a mix of renewables, nuclear energy and hydropower, he pointed out. The government plans to conduct all the necessary procedures, find potential investors and set up the financial structure by 2027, when it would make the final investment decision and hold a referendum, Golob revealed. Earlier he suggested that a plebiscite would be organized for any law concerning JEK2.

National consensus on JEK2 is necessary

Answering questions in parliament, the prime minister reiterated that national consensus is necessary for the installation of a new reactor. With the efforts underway, state-owned utility GEN energija calculated that JEK2 could come online in 2037 in the most optimistic scenario, according to Golob. He underscored that 2047 would be too late.

Total cost is estimated at EUR 7,000 per kW, Golob stressed.

JEK2 Second unit Slovenia Krsko nuclear power plant EUR 11 billion
Photo: GEN Group

GEN energija’s Levičar to become state secretary in charge of project

As Chief Executive Officer of GEN energija Dejan Paravan earlier said the company is now looking at reactors of 1.2 GW to 1.6 GW, the investment could amount to a maximum of EUR 11 billion. The previous plan was for a unit of up to 1.1 GW. Golob has asserted that he would appoint GEN energija’s Chief Operating Officer Danijel Levičar as state secretary in his cabinet to lead a special working group in charge of JEK2.

Slovenia intends to open the door for small modular reactors as well

During the visit to Krško with the prime minister, Minister of Environment, Climate and Energy Bojan Kumer said nuclear energy would be included in the update of the National Energy and Climate Plan for the long term. The technology won’t be limited to Krško, he added. Of note, GEN energija is examining the possibility to deploy small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).

The company Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) is co-owned by GEN energija and Croatia’s government-controlled utility Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP Group). The facility has 696 MW in electricity capacity and almost 2 GW for thermal energy. Slovenia issued an environmental approval in January to extend the plant’s operating life until 2043.

Croatia supports the JEK2 project while Austria is opposing it.

Nuclear power is making a comeback in Europe, with France leading the way, as the energy crisis, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the electrification trend increased concerns over energy security. Optimism about the development of SMR technology contributed to the shift, even though such reactors aren’t yet commercially available.

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