Croatia has not yet definitely decided to start dumping its radioactive waste near the border with Bosnia, but Bosnian officials are worried as there is a strong possibility it might happen and because Croatia is not responding to any of Bosnia’s complaints about the plan.
Bosnia requested in March that Croatia refrains from using Trgovska Gora, an area near the border between the two countries, to store radioactive and nuclear waste and that it finds another adequate area within its own territory to do so.
Trgovska Gora is located just north of the border, near the Bosnian town of Novi Grad. Croatia adopted strategic documents at the end of last year which name that area as a potential location for dumping nuclear waste.
This information caused concern among residents of Novi Grad, who told N1 in November last year the decision was “scandalous.”
A few days ago, the Serb member of the country’s tripartite Presidency blocked a decision passed by his two colleagues for the body to adopt a set of conclusions which would open up the possibility of suing Croatia over a bridge the country is building that could block Bosnia’s access to the open sea.
The conclusions the Bosniak and Croat Presidency members had adopted called for Croatia to stop building the Peljesac Bridge until the two countries agree on a maritime border and a set of other outstanding issues.
One of them is the issue of Croatia planning to set up a dump for its nuclear waste in Trgovska Gora.
According to Bosniak Presidency member, Sefik Dzaferovic, his Serb colleague, Milorad Dodik, made a mistake.
“Dodik’s decision to block the conclusions by the Presidency regarding the border issues, which is against the interest of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its right to access to the sea, was obviously understood by Zagreb as conceding and a chance for them to continue jeopardizing the interests of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Dzaferovic said.
Dodik argued that the Presidency decision is detrimental to the interests of the Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity he was elected from, Republika Srpska (RS). But according to Dzaferovic, he worked for the interest of Croatia, which damaged Bosnia.
“The Presidency of Bosnia must protect the interests of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the case of the Neum bay, in the case of Trgovska Gora and in any other cases. We can only do that efficiently if all of Bosnia’ Presidency members are committed to their constitutional obligation to protect the interests of Bosnia and Herzegovina and all of its citizens,” he said.
Since Croatia owns half of the Krsko power plant in Slovenia, the country needs to take over half of the nuclear waste from that power plant by 2023.
“Taking into account that we are talking about very shaky ground which is rich with groundwater and that it is close to where the river Una flows which flows through nine municipalities populated by about 230 thousand people, it is a legitimate concern that such a move by Croatia would jeopardize the livelihood of those people, who work in agriculture and sustainable tourism there,” the RS Ministry Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology said on Monday.
Croatia is consistently ignoring the worries, complaints and appeals coming from Republika Srpska regarding the issue, it said, adding that Bosnia’s government has done nothing to help and that at least the Bosnian Serb member of the Presidency is paying attention to the problem.
Bosnia’s Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak said he can only react once the information about the nuclear waste dump is officially announced. He said he nevertheless raised the issue recently at an International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna.
“I think that that was the most that could have been done,” he said, adding that Bosnia’s next steps should be defined after a meeting between Croatia and Slovenia on this issue, which was announced for September.
Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Mirko Sarovic, said both the bridge as well as the dump should be discussed again.
He said that “it is completely clear,” that Dodik’s move to block the initiative of his two colleagues was “destructive for the interests of Republika Srpska.”