Bosnians protest Croatian plans for nuclear waste facility

September 27, 2019 - 8:18 am

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Hundreds of Bosnians on Friday rallied against plans by neighboring Croatia to store part of the waste from the region's only nuclear plant near its border with Bosnia and the area's main river, which is known for its natural beauty.

The protesters in the northwestern Bosnian town of Novi Grad warned that a nuclear waste facility would endanger the Una River and the lives of around 250,000 people living in the area.

Holding banners reading "I want a healthy future" or "Stop — the Una (river) needs us," they urged Croatia to abandon its plans to build the storage site at an ex-army barracks at Trgovska Gora and pledged to fight against it.

"We have to say NO!" Miroslav Drljaca, the head of Novi Grad municipality told the crowd. "We must fight to preserve our way of life and our Una."

Located in Slovenia, the 1980s' Krsko nuclear plant is owned jointly by Croatia. Officials from the two countries are set to meet next week to discuss additional waste storage facilities.

Croatia's state HRT television reported on Friday that Croatia is yet to decide whether it will build storage of its own or pay to store its part of the waste at a new facility that Slovenia is building.

The country's Minister of Environment Protection and Energy Tomislav Coric told the TV that Croatia also has a problem with its institutional waste from schools, hospitals and prisons, and was hoping to find an overall solution.

In Bosnia, activists, officials and residents attending Friday's protest insisted that Croatia should find another location closer to the Krsko plant, which is near Slovenia's border with Croatia.

"How come that out of entire Croatia, the best is the Trgovska Gora pocket that is in Bosnia's pants?" asked Drljaca. "We must not let them humiliate us!"

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