August 22, 2019 / 1:51 PM / a month ago

Slovenia PM pushes for construction of new nuclear reactor

FILE PHOTO: Slovenia's Prime Minister Marjan Sarec arrives to take part in a European Union leaders summit, in Brussels, Belgium July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec threw his weight on Thursday behind a tentative plan to build a new nuclear reactor to help support the country’s economic growth.

The government has not yet made a final decision on whether to build a new reactor alongside Slovenia’s existing and only nuclear power plant Krsko (NEK).

“We have to put all our efforts into building the second block of the nuclear power plant,” Sarec told reporters during a visit to NEK, stressing increasing demand for electricity.

At present NEK, which is equally owned by Slovenia and Croatia, covers about a fifth of Slovenian electricity needs. In 2016 Slovenia and Croatia agreed to extend NEK’s lifespan by 20 years to 2043.

NEK was built in cooperation with U.S. firm Westinghouse and started operating in 1984. It was originally scheduled to close in 2023.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Gareth Jones

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