Nuclear regulatory authority
The Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration was established in 1987 and it is the body within the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning. It is responsible for nuclear safety and radiation safety in industry and science, as well as for environmental radiation protection, physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities, nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards, radiation monitoring and third party liability. The Slovenian Radiation Protection Administration within the Ministry of Health regulates and inspects radiation sources and activities in medicine and veterinary practices, which includes protection against ionizing radiation. Besides that, it authorizes radiation protection experts and ensures monitoring of food and drinking water, as well as radon monitoring. Physical protection of nuclear materials and nuclear facilities is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior. The Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief of the Ministry of Defence is the leading authority for emergency preparedness and planning. In May 2011, Slovenia became the 30th member of the NEA and its Data Bank. In September 2011, Slovenia hosted the IRRS mission, which recognized the SNSA achievements. The mission did not find major non-conformances, however the SNSA meticulously analysed the recommendations and suggestions and implemented the action plan to address those. In November 2011, Slovenia hosted the INSARR mission, which reviewed the research reactor with emphasis on its periodic safety review programme. In 2014, the IRRS follow-up mission was implemented, which acknowledged the progress made since the 2011 mission The INSARR follow-up mission was conducted in November 2015. In May 2017, the Krško NPP hosted its fourth OSART mission. All three mission reports are available here. In October 2018, there was the OSART Follow-up mission, which concluded that 70% of the recommendations and suggestions were completed. By summer 2019, all items were completed. Slovenia decided to invite the IRRS and ARTEMIS missions in early 2022.
The Resolution on Nuclear and Radiation Safety in the Republic of Slovenia for the period 2013-2023 was adopted in the Parliament in June 2013 as a high-level national policy paper (link to the English translation).
Slovenia is the smallest country with a nuclear power plant operating on its territory. Its nuclear facilities include one nuclear power plant in operation (PWR, Westinghouse 696 MWnet), one research reactor in operation (TRIGA Mark II 250 kW) and a central interim storage for radwaste (not for the NPP waste). In addition, there are radiation facilities and practices including one repository of hydro-metallurgical tailings, one repository of mine tailings, both located at the former uranium mine Žirovski vrh, and around 300 organizations engaged in radiation practices with about 2000 radiation sources in use.
The Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (established in 1991) is responsible for all aspects of radioactive waste management. It provides public service for collecting radioactive waste management from small producers, operates the storage of low and intermediate level radioactive waste and it is responsible for the construction of the repository for low and intermediate level radioactive waste.
The EU stress tests were a major exercise in the second half of 2011 and the first half of 2012 for all EU countries. Slovenia and its sole NPP Krško successfully passed this test and this fact was clearly recognized in the final report.
At the end of 2012, the post-Fukushima action plan was prepared, which is mainly based on the ambitious Safety Upgrade Program (SUP) of the Krško NPP. The missing items are related to the finalization of the SUP.
In 2012, the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration issued a decision, which approved the modifications that will enable long-term operation of the Krško NPP. It is planned that the operation of the NPP will be extended from 2023 to 2043, pending the successful conclusion of periodic safety reviews in 2023 and 2033.
Radioactive waste and spent fuel management
The Resolution on the National Programme for the Management of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel (for the period 2016-2025) was prepared and adopted by the Parliament in 2016 (link to the English translation). The programme covers all short and long-term aspects of radioactive waste and spent fuel management.
Low and intermediate level waste from NPP Krško is stored on the site. All other radioactive waste generated in the country is handed over to the Agency for Radwaste Management and stored in the interim storage close to the capital Ljubljana.
The spent fuel dry storage is going to be constructed on-site of the Krško NPP, as one of the post-Fukushima action plan items. The cross-border consultation process about the environmental impact assessment was successfully finished. There are plans to transfer spent fuel into the dry storage by 2023 and the final solution for the spent fuel will be sought later. It is planned that the dry storage facility for spent fuel will operate for 60 years. As a small country, Slovenia is very much interested in regional or global solutions of high-level waste disposal.
Based on the bilateral agreement between Slovenia and Croatia about the ownership of the Krško NPP both parties shall in equal shares assure funds for the preparation of the plant decommissioning and for the disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel. In 1994, such fund was established in Slovenia and it is financed by the levy from each kWh produced in the Slovenian half of NPP Krško. A similar fund was also established in Croatia for its share of electricity from the same NPP.
The site for low and intermediate level radioactive waste repository was approved by the Government in December 2009. The site, named Vrbina, is situated in the municipality of Krško in the vicinity of the Krško NPP. The Agency for Radioactive Waste Management is the future operator of this repository. In 2019, the environmental impact assessment report of the repository was presented and discussed with Austria and Croatia. At the time of writing, the licensing process is still ongoing. The start of the construction is expected in 2021 and the repository should start trial operation in 2023.
Main legal instruments
The main piece of legislation is the Act on Ionising Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (ZVISJV-1), which entered into force in January 2018. This Act was completely refurbished to align it with the provisions of the EU Directive on protection against ionizing radiation (2013/59/Euratom). Secondary legislation was also part of this exercise. Thus, secondary legislation in force can be found on the SNSA webpage. In the area of third party liability Slovenia is a party to the Paris Convention and Brussels Supplementary Convention, thus with the Act on Liability for Nuclear Damage, adopted in 2011 by the Parliament, the legislation was brought fully in line with the provisions of the aforementioned international legal instruments.
LINKS TO SLOVENIAN OPERATORS (listed under 'Nuclear Activities' above):
Last updated in August 2021