Czech Senate Advocates Joint Decision-Making on Nuclear Waste Repository Placement

The Czech Senate is advocating for a revival of a condition requiring the agreement of both chambers of the Parliament to place a deep geological repository for radioactive waste. This condition was initially proposed by the government but was repealed by the Chamber of Deputies. As a result, the Deputies will have to reconsider the law.

The Senate also recommended on Wednesday that it should be a mandatory requirement, not just an option, for the government to establish compensations beyond the scope of the Atomic Act for the municipalities where the repository would be built. The Senate rejected the veto right for municipalities.

Senator Hana Žáková, representing STAN, justified the condition of parliamentary consent by stating that it would help restore trust in the government’s steps regarding the repository construction. Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Síkela, also from STAN, remained neutral on the condition, although he preferred the adoption of the law without changes. He pointed out that 167 of 177 present deputies voted for the Chamber version in mid-November.

The Senate version of the law, supported by 47 out of 76 members of the upper parliamentary chamber, prescribes the government to determine compensations for the affected municipalities. The government should negotiate the amount and level of payments with them. Moreover, these compensations would also require the consent of both parliamentary chambers. The Chamber of Deputies version only contemplates the possibility of the government establishing compensations.