Expert Advisory Panel II

The selection of the final site for the Czech deep geological repository will be overseen by a Expert Advisory Panel

09. January 2024

The selection of the final site for the Czech deep geological repository will be overseen by a specially-appointed Expert Advisory Panel

The Expert Advisory Panel II met earlier today for the first time at the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The role of the panel will be to oversee the selection of the final and backup sites for the future Czech deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. As with the first expert advisory panel, which supervised the reduction of the number of candidate sites from nine to four, the Expert Advisory Panel II will oversee the next stage of the selection process and guarantee that it is conducted in a professional manner.

The members of the panel and the observers were welcomed to the opening meeting by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Jozef Síkela.

“Nuclear energy will continue to play an important role in the generation of electricity for our homes and businesses. Determining a site for the future deep geological repository that provides a safe, stable and long-term solution for the disposal of radioactive waste and that guarantees the protection of the population and the environment is key to the further development of the nuclear energy sector. Currently, SÚRAO is considering four potential sites, which at the beginning of the selection process we view as equally promising,” stated Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela, adding: “The main aim of the Expert Advisory Panel is to guarantee the expertise, integrity and objectivity of the process that will conclude with the submission of a recommendation for the final site to the government. The members of the panel include representatives from the relevant regions and municipalities and their nominated observers and experienced experts from various fields. In order to select the most suitable site, all those involved will be required to follow set professional criteria and to communicate in a transparent and open way. Therefore, I would particularly like to thank the representatives from the affected municipalities in advance for their constructive participation.”

The panel members include experts from leading Czech institutions who are involved in scientific fields that are closely related to the development of the deep geological repository, e.g. hydrogeology, radiation protection and underground construction techniques. The panel also includes two experts nominated by the affected municipalities and one expert nominated by the regions in which the candidate sites are located.

Professor Naďa Rapantová from the Department of Geotechnics and Underground Construction at the VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava was selected as the chairperson of the panel:

“I intend to apply my experience so as to contribute to addressing the issue of the safe disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. I accepted the offer since I consider the position as panel chairperson to be an interesting and motivational professional challenge. In addition, I believe that my long-term experience provides me with a broad professional outlook in the areas that are relevant to the selection of the final site for the Czech deep geological repository. I will endeavour to successfully combine the various professional specialisations of the members of the expert panel.”

Representatives from the affected municipalities and the State Office for Nuclear Safety will participate in the meetings of the panel as observers. It is planned that the panel will meet for several years until the final and backup sites for the repository have been selected.

SÚRAO is investigating four potential sites

The Expert Advisory Panel was established as an advisory body for Lukáš Vondrovic, Managing Director of the Czech Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SÚRAO), which is ultimately responsible for the selection of the final and backup sites from the technical point of view: “The Expert Advisory Panel comprises a professional platform that will allow for the sharing of knowledge that will result in the selection of the safest possible site for the Czech deep geological repository. I look forward to receiving an independent assessment of the research results obtained by SÚRAO and other, external, experts and I look forward to professional discussions on this topic.”

According to Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom of 19 July 2011, which established a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, the deep geological repository disposal concept is, at the technical level, currently considered to be the most suitable alternative for the safe and sustainable disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. Moreover, the commissioning of a deep geological repository comprises one of the technical criteria for further investment in nuclear energy sources according to the so-called EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Investment.

SÚRAO is currently investigating four potential sites – Březový Potok in the Pilsen region, Horka and Hrádek in the Vysočina region, and Janoch in the South Bohemian region.

Members of the panel

Ministry of Industry and Trade – Ing. Tomáš Rosendorf, Head of the Back-end of the Fuel Cycle Department in the Nuclear Energy Section

Ministry of the Environment – RNDr. Martin Holý, Director of the Department of Geology and Deputy Chief Director of the Nature and Landscape Protection Section

VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava – prof. Ing. Naďa Rapantová, CSc., vice dean for science and research

Czech Technical University – doc. Dr. Ing. Jan Pruška, head of the Faculty of Geotechnics

Masaryk University – Mgr. Petr Špaček, Ph.D., head of the Institute of Earth Physics

Institute of Rock Structure and Mechanics, Czech Academy of Sciences – RNDr. Josef Stemberk, CSc.

State Institute for Radiation Protection – Ing. Pavel Fojtík, deputy director for radiation protection

Nominated by the affected municipalities:

Mgr. Matěj Machek, Ph.D., Institute of Geophysics of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Mgr. Marcel Fuciman, Ph.D., Faculty of Sciences of the University of South Bohemia

Nominated by the affected regions:

Ing. Edvard Sequens, energy consultant to the CALLA organisation