Politics

Environment committee is against nuclear waste dumps near the border

On Tuesday evening, the National Council’s Environment Committee largely reaffirmed the cross-party alliance on nuclear issues. Motions for resolutions against nuclear waste dumps near the border and an extension of the life of the Slovenian nuclear power plant in Krsko, originally submitted by the opposition parties SPÖ and FPÖ, were approved by all parliamentary groups in the form of agreed amendments. An FPÖ motion to exit Euratom remained without a majority.

In the case of Euratom, the Greens also argued against it, who had been campaigning for an exit for years before their reign. In 2011, for example, they had given major support to the popular initiative “Get out of Euratom”. According to parliamentary correspondence, Green MP Martin Litschauer pointed out at the committee meeting on Tuesday that an exit from the contract would limit Austria’s control options. The FPÖ had argued that membership in the agreement made no sense and that Austria’s contributions would be better off elsewhere.

In the first application that was accepted, Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) was asked to take action against nuclear waste repositories near the border in the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland. Gewessler emphasized that such a repository is inconceivable and that they will bring the demand everywhere. It is not just about a kilometer-dependent distance, but also about avoiding wastewater in Austrian waters. With regard to the Czech Republic, an environmental impact assessment is not expected before the year 2025.

The motion submitted by the FPÖ against the Krsko extension was expanded to include the requirement that Austria should receive all relevant information in connection with the power plant. Gewessler should also advocate the implementation of cross-border EIAs and time limits for term extensions at EU level. The minister reported that in the case of Krsko an EIA had already been set and that Austria would participate. On the subject of the expansion of Dukovany, she said that only the construction of one reactor was being targeted and that this was “questionable” due to the lack of building permits and type decisions.

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