September 12, 2019 / 1:03 PM / a month ago

Bosnia protects Una river to try to block Croatian nuclear waste plan

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - One of Bosnia’s two regional governments on Thursday designated the Una river a nature park, seeking to head off plans being considered by Croatia to build a landfill site for radioactive waste near the border between the two countries.

Trgovska Gora, located just 500 meters north of the Bosnian border and the river Una, has been identified by Croatia as one of four potential sites for dumping waste from the Krsko (NEK) nuclear power plant it shares with neighboring Slovenia.

No final decision has been made, but Croatia needs to take over half of the nuclear waste from NEK, which lies in Slovenia, by 2023. The plant was a joint venture of the two republics when both were part of Yugoslavia.

“The Una Nature Park is yet another defense mechanism against Croatia’s nuclear waste disposal plans,” said Srebrenka Golic, the environment minister of Bosnia’s Serb Republic.

Since the end of a conflict over the break up of Yugoslavia, Bosnia has been made up of two autonomous regions - the Serb Republic and the Bosniak-Croat Federation. The latter had already proclaimed the Una river a national nature park.

Croatian Minister of Environment and Energy Tomislav Coric recently said a final decision on the landfill site would be made in October.

Both Bosnia and Croatia have seen a series of protests against the plan. Activists say over 300,000 citizens and wildlife along the Una could potentially suffer.

In 2016, Slovenia and Croatia agreed to extend NEK’s lifespan by 20 years to 2043. It was built in cooperation with U.S. firm Westinghouse and started operating in 1984.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Mark Potter

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