23.5.2024
ENERG
> Energy

JEK2 project – New nuclear power plant in Slovenia

Due to the exceptional strategic importance of the JEK2 project, the law firm Jadek & Pensa will, in the coming months, focus on a series of publications addressing both legal topics related to the implementation of the JEK2 project as well as topics regarding nuclear law regulation in Slovenia and the European Union. The potential construction of a new nuclear power plant JEK2, presents a key intergenerational and long-term project that would contribute to the quality of the electricity supply in Slovenia.

1. Background of the JEK2 project[1]

The construction of the second unit of the Krško nuclear power plant has been described as the most important strategic investment in a low-carbon source of electricity in Slovenia, which aims to ensure energy independence and climate neutrality.[2]

The decision to build JEK2 is supported by the principles of the European Green Deal to ensure secure and affordable energy supplies for the EU, as one of the objectives of JEK2 is to provide a reliable supply of low-carbon electricity at a stable and predictable price.[3] Additionally, the decision is supported, by signing of the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy Capacity by 2050 at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (the “COP28”) in December 2023, by which Slovenia committed itself to the responsible and safe management of nuclear facilities in accordance with the highest standards of quality, safety, and sustainability, and to the responsible management of nuclear waste.[4]

In September 2023, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia established the Working Group for the Coordination of Preparatory Activities for the JEK2 Project with the aim of coordinating the preparation of the JEK2 project, establishing an appropriate regulatory framework, and accelerating the implementation of the JEK2 project.[5]

2. Estimated timeline of the JEK2 project

On 19 July 2021, the Ministry of Infrastructure issued an energy permit to the investor GEN energija d.o.o. for the JEK2 energy facility on the basis of the adopted Long-term Climate Strategy of Slovenia (the “ReDPS50”) and the Comprehensive National Energy and Climate Plan (the “NEPN”).[6]

The period from 2024 until 2028 will include project organisation, expert dialogue with potential power plant suppliers and carrying out analyses to select an appropriate financing and operating model. Three potential power plant suppliers have been defined: Westinghouse from the USA, EDF from France and KHNP from South Korea. The construction permit is expected to be obtained around the year 2032 and construction is expected to be completed around seven years later, in 2039. JEK 2 is expected to be connected to the grid sometime until the year 2040.[7]

The preparation of the initiative for the start of the siting process is currently being finalised with the inclusion of conceptual solutions for JEK2, including eight possible combinations of units with different total capacities, ranging from 1000 MWe to 2400 MWe.[8] The national spatial plan preparation process is expected to start in June 2024, with the Nuclear Safety Authority (slo. Uprava za jedrsko varnost) issuing nuclear and radiation safety guidelines for the preparation of the plan in the first part of the siting process. A comprehensive environmental impact assessment, including an assessment of transboundary impacts on neighbouring countries, will be carried out in parallel with the national spatial plan process.

GEN Energija d.o.o. is already preparing a call for tenders, promoting cooperation between the three potential suppliers, local suppliers and subcontractors, and establishing its operational framework for the JEK2 project through the recruitment of new staff and training.[9] A consultative referendum on public support for the project is expected to be held in November 2024.[10]

3. Conclusion

The first report on the activities of the Working Group of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for the Coordination of Preparatory Activities for the JEK2 Project (for the period from September 2023 until March 2024) stated that active efforts are being made to further optimize the project timeline, confirming that the JEK2 project is proceeding according to plan. In line with the timeline presented, the next contribution of our series will focus on certain legal aspects of spatial planning and preparations for the construction of the JEK2 project.

[1] JEK2 project. Available at: https://jek2.si/en/jek2-project/ (13 May 2024).

[2] 8th Meeting of the Government Working Group on NPP2. Available at: https://www.gov.si/novice/2024-04-24-8-seja-vladne-delovne-skupine-za-jek2/ (13 May 2024).

[3] https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal/energy-and-green-deal_sl (13 MAY 2024).

[4] World nuclear news. Available at: https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/COP28-agreement-recognises-nuclear-s-role (accessed 13 May 2024).

[5] First report on the activities of the Working Group of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for the coordination of preparatory activities for the NPP2 project. Available at: https://www.energetika-portal.si/nc/novica/n/prvo-porocilo-o-delovanju-delovne-skupine-vlade-rs-za-koordinacijo-pripravljalnih-aktivnosti-na-projektu-jek2/ (13 May 2024).

[6] JEK2 Quarterly Report (X – XII 2023/4). Available at: https://jek2.gen-energija.si/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Kvartalno-porocilo-JEK2-X-XII-2023.pdf (13 May 2024).

[7] Jek 2 by 2040? Available at: https://dolenjskilist.svet24.si/2024/05/10/288627/novice/posavje/jek_2_do_leta_leta_2040/ (13 May 2024).

[8] Nuclear News Abroad – April 2024. Available at: https://www.gov.si/novice/2024-04-15-jedrske-novice-za-tujino-april-2024/ (13 May 2024).

[9] Nuclear News Abroad – April 2024. Available at: https://www.gov.si/novice/2024-04-15-jedrske-novice-za-tujino-april-2024/  (13 May 2024).

[10] Nuclear News Abroad – April 2024. Available at: https://www.gov.si/novice/2024-04-15-jedrske-novice-za-tujino-april-2024/  (13 May 2024).