Krško Nuclear Plant Undamaged After Zagreb Quake; Slovenia Sends Aid

By , 23 Mar 2020, 09:02 AM Politics
Krško Nuclear Plant Undamaged After Zagreb Quake; Slovenia Sends Aid Wikimedia, Katja143, CC-by-SA-4.0

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STA, 22 March - The Krško Nuclear Power Station (NEK) said on Sunday that a preventive examination of systems and equipment had not detected any damage or impact on operations caused by a severe earthquake in Zagreb that was felt in Slovenia as well. However, Austrian politicians reiterated their calls for the closure of Slovenia's sole nuclear power plant.

The power station, situated roughly 50 kilometres north-west of Zagreb and hence close to the earthquake's epicentre, is operating normally, said the Nuclear Security Administration, adding that no safety alarm had gone off either.

NEK spokeswoman Ida Novak Jerele told the STA that the nuclear plant had various and specific protocols prepared in case of potential natural or other disasters. Nuclear experts performed their tasks and analyses in line with them today as well, she added.

Meanwhile, the Austrian press agency APA reported that cross-partisan calls for the NEK shutdown followed the 5.3 magnitude quake. A number of Austrian politicians said that the plant posed a great risk to the region's security and that its lifespan was coming to an end.

"It all turned out well this time, but what about next time," the governor of the Austrian state of Carinthia, Peter Kaiser, told the media. He said that a transition to alternative energy resources did not have an alternative in the medium-term and long-term.

The Austrian politicians highlighted that NEK had a limited lifespan and would have to be closed by 2023, saying that today's earthquake should be a wake-up call reminding Slovenia to shut down its sole nuclear power plant.

They all agreed that plans to build a new reactor at the power station would have to be dropped. The last time Austria protested over this issue was last year in August when the then Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said that all the efforts had to go into the construction of another reactor.

Slovenia sending quake aid to Croatia

STA, 22 March 2020 - Slovenia has dispatched emergency relief aid to Croatia in response to the neighbouring country's appeal for help via the European civil protection mechanism after a magnitude 5.3 earthquake hit the capital Zagreb on Sunday morning.

In line with a decision taken by the government earlier in the day, Slovenia dispatched ten tents equipped to accommodate up to 80 people with 60 beds and 60 sleeping bags and 20 heating devices.

The lorry carrying EUR 107,000 worth of material aid was sent off from the civil protection facility on the northern outskirts of Ljubljana by Defence Minister Matej Tonin, who called for continued solidarity in Europe in the face of the coronavirus outbreak and natural disasters such as the latest quake.

"That's the least we can do to help our neighbours in these moments of crisis," he said. "If ever, Europe needs solidarity today and this aid is Slovenia's expression of that solidarity."

Prime Minister Janez Janša offered Croatia help in a phone call with his counterpart Andrej Plenković in the morning, as did Foreign Minister Anže Logar in a phone call with his counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman.

Solidarity with Croatia has also been expressed by President Borut Pahor in a longer telephone call with his Croatian opposite number Zoran Milanović.

The quake, which was also felt by people throughout Slovenia, left at least 15 people with injuries, including a gravelly injured 15-year-old girl. It also caused considerable damage to buildings and cars.

Janša tweeted that the quake did not cause any significant damage in Slovenia and the Krško Nuclear Power Station on the border with Croatia has not been affected.

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