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Longevity for Sustainability
Longevity for Sustainability

Nuclear energy and NEK: How do we facilitate sustainable development?

Nuclear power is essential for decarbonisation, energy independence and for the reliability of the Slovenian and Croatian electric power system.

Nuclear energy enables socially, economically, environmentally, and spatially viable transformation of energy for the achievement of climate neutrality and sustainable development targets.

Long-term use of nuclear power is governed by the sustainable development principles in the following areas:

  • power plant operation and modification planning,
  • employee development and work process design,
  • safety provision and habitat conservation,
  • action as regards change and challenges in the society and the environment, and
  • carrying out our responsibilities to the future generations.

Long-term operation for sustainable development lived at NEK and in nuclear energetics overall produces positive effects on the welfare of the society.

In focus

Security of supply

In 2021, Slovenia again among the top twenty in the world on the Energy Trilemma Index

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Low-carbon footprint

CO2 emissions rise when NEK does not operate

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Quality of life and development

Slovenia meets high nuclear safety standards

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Production performance

Long-term operation of NEK means sustainable use of space – the existing facility on small NEK area produces large quantity of electrical energy

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Low-carbon footprint

Carbon footprint of nuclear countries is significantly below the global average

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Security of supply

Reliable supply of electrical energy is a requirement for normal functioning of a modern society

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Economic performance

The cost of electrical energy produced by nuclear power plants is highly competitive when compared to other energy sources

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Quality of life and development

Radiation is a natural phenomenon. What can NEK 0,11 μSv contribution be equivalent to when compared to annual natural radiation dose?

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Ancillary services

Nuclear power plant is an important support point for the transmission network

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Sustainable Development Goals

In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations have integrated the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social, and environmental and announced the 17 sustainable development goals.

Nuclear energy as an accessible, clean, and reliable source of energy makes an important contribution to achieving these goals.

No poverty

Access to electrical energy or security of its supply is one of the basic categories of living standards of countries and regions contributing to the elimination of poverty. Nuclear power plants provide a reliable and competitive supply of electrical energy to drive industrial, agricultural, service, and other activities that are vital to life.

Zero hunger

From nuclear energy, we reliably produce affordable and clean electrical energy, which allows for sustainable food production, reduces hunger, and supplies food in the world.

Good health and well-being

Modern and high-quality health systems require energy for their operations. An efficient and stable power system supported by nuclear energy reliably supplies electrical energy to health institutions for sterilisation, operation of medical devices, storage of medicine as well as for heating, cooling, and lighting of premises. As a clean energy source, nuclear energy contributes to a cleaner environment and thus to well-being.

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Quality education

It is important to provide inclusive and equitable education for the population of countries, regions, and the world as a whole, as differences in accessibility and quality of education are still significant at global level. The affordability and reliability of electrical energy from nuclear power plants support the effective implementation of educational processes.

At NEK, we particularly support the on-site education and youth education in the surroundings.

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Gender equality

The nuclear community encourages the employment of women in the nuclear industry also with IAEA programs and a global organisation such as Women and Nuclear.

NEK with its employment policy opens the door equally to men and women in the workplace.

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Clean water and sanitation

Nuclear power plants draw technological and sanitary water from natural water sources, such as rivers, wells, and underground reservoirs, and almost entirely return this water to the environment in its original clean form. This is ensured by adequate treatment plants, high environmental standards, and independent environmental monitoring. At the same time, a nuclear power plant has a small area footprint.

Affordable and clean energy

Nuclear energy is affordable and clean energy source that allows coherent development and transition to climate neutrality. In meeting this goal, it also supports the other sustainable development goals.

NEK is the main source of low-carbon energy production in Slovenia; at European level, nuclear power plants generate half of low-carbon energy.

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Decent work and economic growth

Nuclear power plants, with their competitiveness, reliability, and sustainable production, ensure the availability of electrical energy to various economic and service activities in all weather conditions. Nuclear power plant performance enhances output and increases economic growth; besides, nuclear industry provides a number of quality jobs directly and indirectly.

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Industry, innovation, and infrastructure

Energy diversification, process digitalisation, and the transition to a low-carbon society are the challenges of energy transformation. Nuclear energy provides the necessary stability of power systems and thus transforms diverse segments of industry, innovation, and infrastructure.

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Reduced inequality

Nuclear power plants, through their reliable operation, supply affordable energy to industrial and other customers. They thus foster economic growth at regional and global level and reduce inequality between economically developed and developing countries or regions of the world.

Sustainable cities and communities

The balanced development of increasingly urbanised cities and communities depends heavily on clean, affordable, and secure supply of electrical energy. Access to energy in the modern world is one of our basic needs, as it enables quality of life and well-being. Electrical energy produced by nuclear power plants contributes to climate neutrality, resilience, sustainability, and the comfort of modern living in cities and other communities.

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Responsible consumption and production

National regulatory bodies and international organisations (IAEA, WANO) strictly regulate and control all phases of construction, operation, and decommissioning of nuclear power plants. The high standards of the nuclear industry define our actions in all areas. Nuclear power plants consume small quantities of natural resources and water and have a small area footprint. While ensuring nuclear safety and the management of radioactive waste, impacts on the environment and the ecosystem are minimal.

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Climate action

Nuclear energy is a low-carbon energy source contributing to the decarbonisation of the power system and society. The decline in energy-related CO2 emissions from fossil fuels at global level is essential in the fight against climate change. As a result, nuclear energy is part of the solution to achieve climate neutrality.

NEK is the largest source of low-carbon electrical energy in Slovenia.

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Life below water

Water conservation (oceans and rivers) and accessibility to clean water are among the main challenges for mankind. Nuclear power plants, by replacing fossil fuel power plants and with their low carbon footprint, reduce the concentrations of acidic compounds in water which destroy water quality and life in them.

NEK carefully considers the water permit restrictions, such as an increase in temperature and oxygen content in water.

Life on land

Human actions also affect the quality of life on land. Nuclear power plants play an important role in nature conservation efforts. They reduce global warming and weather extremes and maintain the health of ecosystems with low-carbon footprint.

In view of the amount of energy produced, NEK occupies an extremely limited space compared to other energy sources or technologies, thus allowing for the coexistence and development of other activities in the space.

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Peace, justice, and strong institutions

National and international nuclear organisations advocate justice, health, and welfare through their actions. This objective is also enshrined in the Statute of the IAEA.

NEK is committed to legal, fair, and open operation. We therefore constantly upgrade the transparency of the plant operation and participate in projects that increase understanding of nuclear technology in the public.

Partnership for the goals

A nuclear power plant with a reliable production of clean electrical energy provides solutions to a wide range of stakeholders, such as industry, households, and local communities, public sector and service activities. Collaboration and coordination with stakeholders and their involvement in energy policy-making processes at national and international level help identify nuclear energy benefits and strengthen the social acceptability of both long-term operation of nuclear power plants and nuclear new builds in Europe and the world.

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NEK, sustainable development, and long-term operation

Sustainable development is fundamental to our long-term operation and it is reflected in the plant’s mission.

Find out more about NEK’s sustainable operation policies here and you can find out more about the sustainable aspects of the commitments of our operations here.