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Friday, January 9, 2009

Serbian energy minister recommends expert discussion on nuclear power

Even though there is a ban on the construction of nuclear plants in Serbia until 2015, there is no ban on scientific institutions addressing the question and evaluating whether Serbia needs a nuclear power plant, Minister of Energy Petar Skundric told Novosti. He said that construction of nuclear power plants should not be taboo, that the question should be regarded as any other in the energy sector.

Even though the moratorium has been imposed on the construction of nuclear power plants until 2015, scientists believe that Serbia should start by defining its energy policy. In the next few years, we must decide how much energy we will produce and consume in the future.

Discussion on the construction of nuclear power plants brings Serbia to its feet. Opponents as well as supporters stand up; the public recalls the Chernobyl disaster. Another problem is storage, as the storage of nuclear waste is a problem for many countries.

Yet scientists say that we should not shun nuclear power, that there are four plants within a 600-kilometre radius from Belgrade. The last public uproar was when Croatia announced that a nuclear power plant could be built near Erdut, very close to the Serbian border.

"Serbia must know that it is just the same if a nuclear power plant is raised on the left or right side of the Danube, and we should say that Albania plans to build four nuclear power plants," said Skundric. However, there must be agreement and consensus between states, as stipulated by the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context.

Skundric said it was necessary to discuss all this, but that we could not do so on our own. "We cannot do this without international know-how, but there is still scientific potential among our experts in Vinca," said Skundric.

Scientists say it is necessary to renew staff urgently, that Serbia is short on people who work in atomic physics. In any case, a nuclear power plant will not be built in Serbia in the next 12 years: That is how long it takes from decision-making to construction.

By the way: Everyone Building, No Questions Asked

After France, Britain, Italy, and the Czech Republic, Slovenia is seriously considering the construction of a new nuclear reactor, and Bulgaria is building one. In the EU, 35 per cent of power is supplied from nuclear power plants from 150 reactors, most of them in France - 59.

Recently, China announced the construction of 32 nuclear power plants in the next 15 years, and Russia plans to build a floating nuclear reactor. More than 100 of the world's 443 reactors are in the United States.

Source: Electric Light and Power

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