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Debate ignited over Serbia’s nuclear energy future

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President Aleksandar Vučić’s recent statement indicating the need for revisiting decisions made during the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) era is being interpreted by environmentalists as a potential signal of intent to revoke the 1989 Law prohibiting the construction of nuclear power plants. They warn of potential civil unrest, surpassing even the protests against the Rio Tinto project, if such a move were to materialize.

During a TV appearance on Prva, President Vučić lauded his recent visit to Brussels, particularly his participation in a summit organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency and Belgium, stating it was among his most fruitful engagements. He emphasized the necessity of updating laws dating back to the SFRJ period, citing a projected fourfold increase in electricity demand by 2050 and the imperative to address citizens’ and industries’ heightened needs.

Vučić also expressed interest in pursuing a large-scale nuclear power plant project akin to Hungary’s collaboration with Russia, albeit acknowledging the substantial cost and time required for such endeavors.

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However, environmentalists and energy experts advocate against the repeal of the nuclear power plant ban, citing potential safety hazards and environmental risks in the event of accidents. They assert that alternatives such as hydropower exist and could suffice, pointing to ongoing global shifts away from nuclear energy.

The prospect of lifting the ban has drawn mixed reactions, with some experts suggesting Serbia’s participation in existing nuclear projects in neighboring countries like Hungary rather than embarking on domestic endeavors. They argue that Hungary’s advanced expertise and experience make it a more viable option for regional nuclear energy initiatives.

Ultimately, the debate over nuclear energy’s role in Serbia’s future energy landscape continues to provoke discussion, with environmentalists and energy specialists advocating for cautious consideration of alternative, sustainable energy sources.

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