Development of nuclear technology in Slovenia
Slovenia is the world smallest country with an operating nuclear power plant. The NPP at Krško began operation in 1983 and is expected to continue to do so until the year 2043. We also have the research reactor Triga Mark II, which is in operation from the year 1966 and will celebrate 50 years of operation in 2016.
Research groups related with nuclear technology are mostly concentrated at the Jozef Stefan Institute, which is a national research institute with around 900 employees covering the nuclear technology, nuclear safety, reactor physics and environmental sciences connected with measurements related to radioactive substances.
Education in nuclear technology is established mostly at University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, where the master study and doctoral study of nuclear engineering are conducted yearly. Some collaboration with Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Electrical Engineering exist regarding these studies.
Nuclear professionals are collaborating within a professional society named Nuclear Society of Slovenia, which is associated to European Nuclear Society and which yearly organizes international meetings with attendance of around 200 scientists and professionals from variety of nuclear fields.
The challenges we face constantly are the safe operation of Krško NPP and the safe operation of Triga Mark II research reactor. Krško is recognized worldwide with excellent operational and safety performance indicators.
In the future we do not foresee many changes. The nuclear power plant faces difficulties related to low price of electric energy on the energy market, which is a consequence of large subsidies and related measures which have been introduced to support renewable energy sources. But, the plant operates well and in a cost effective way.
The energy strategy in Slovenia will support clean and cost effective technologies in the future. At the moment, nuclear technology is an option for which it is difficult to find a better alternative, although renewable sources are predicted to have a larger share in the energy mix in the future.
The main challenges will appear when the research reactor and the nuclear power plant will need to be replaced. This is especially true for a small country such as Slovenia, where the investment for a new nuclear power plant represents a substantial percentage of the country’s budget, although private investors are expected to contribute notably.
Stane Kavcic and Dragutin Haramija signed an agreement for the construction of nuclear power plant Krško on October 27, 1970.