Nuclear Waste Disposal at Trgovska gora, Croatia

The Croatian government’s decision to store nuclear waste from the NPP “Krško” in Trgovska gora, at the border with Bosnia, has provoked strong opposition in both countries.

Croatia owns 50% of the Nuclear Power Plant “Krško” in Slovenia and as such it is obliged to take care of half of the nuclear waste after the NPP stops working in 2043. Slovenia has already build the permanent nuclear waste repository in close proximity to the NPP Krško (locality Vrbina). Croatian government, however, found more economically viable to build the repository within its territory, also because of EU funds directed to local municipalities hosting such object. Since 1999 the former underground military warehouse in Trgovska gora, located 2,5 km from a town Dvor and 850 m from the river Una, has been registered in the Spatial Plan of the Republic of Croatia as the only potential location for the repository. Trgovska gora is an area of high nature value and it has long tradition in mining and agricultural activities. It is also part of Bania, the poorest and least populated regions in Croatia and predominantly inhabited by the Serbian ethnic minority.  From the very beginning the project faced disapproval from local authorities, citizens and NGOs. In 2003, more than 16,000 people signed petition against the repository. However, that was not sufficient resolve the conflicts, and the issue was reopened in 2007 and most recently in 2013 after Croatia joined the EU and accepted to respect its norms for radioactive waste disposal. In February 2015, the citizens of Dvor reported large number of cargo trucks bringing unknown load to the selected location. In April 2015, the Council of the Municipality of Dvor brought unanimous decision to say NO to the repository, as well as have communicated their views on the issue with the national government of Croatia. Given that the Una River forms the natural border among Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, more precisely the Republica Srpska (RS) - Serbian entity, the storage would also affect the closest Bosnian city Novi Grad (only 2km from the location). In addition, river Una has been declared as National Park in B&H and it is protected under Natura 2000 network. When the municipal authorities, the RS minister of ecology, scientists, citizens and activists public in Bosnia learnt about the repository they organised petitions, protests, and public discussions. They criticise the strategic study which does not take account for 230,000 people that live at the Bosnian side of the river Una Basin. They pointed out that Croatia violated the ESPOO convention under which the repository should be placed at least 20 km from the international boundaries. The National Assembly of RS adopted “Declaration against the construction of nuclear waste disposal site” and received support by Parliament of the Federation B&H. Bosnian authorities also reported the case to the European Commission and ESPOO convention signatories. In March 2016, Croatian and Bosnian opponents organised joint protests and public hearings in the Croatian capital, Zagreb and in the town of Dvor. The opponents explained that Trgovska gora is not an adequate area for such object given the high seismic activity, risk of floods, porous rocks, and the fact that it contains important water resources. They suggested that the government of Croatia should invest in building new tanks at the locality Vrbina, Slovenia, and criticised the idea of potential economic benefits for the local people for hosting such repositories at the expense of the local development based on the ecological agriculture and tourism. This case has ethnic dimension as well. In March 2016, representatives of local Serbs sent a letter demanding from Croatian government to find another location, otherwise this would be understood as “the final act of the expulsion of the Serbian people from the area and attack to their health and the environment of a large number of citizens of the RS”. They consider that the location was chosen because the authorities expected least resistance from the scarce local population, mainly Serbian returnees after the civil war. New public discussions are planned in both Croatia and Bosnia, while citizens can send their suggestions and critiques on strategic study and “National program for radioactive waste disposal” to the State Office for Nuclear Safety and the Municipality of Dvor until the 6th of May 2016. Croatia should make final decision on the issue in 2016.
Basic Data
NameNuclear Waste Disposal at Trgovska gora, Croatia
ProvinceSisak-Moslavina County
SiteDvor na Uni, Municipality of Dvor
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Nuclear
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Nuclear waste storage
Nuclear power plants
Specific CommoditiesUranium
Nuclear waste, medical and industrial radioactive waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
NPP "Krško" was built in 1981.
See more...
Project Area (in hectares)54,000
Level of Investment (in USD)213,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population235,000
Start Date1999
Company Names or State EnterprisesEnergy and Environmental Protection Institute (EKONERG) from Croatia - Author of the strategic study
Nuclear Power Plant "Krško" from Slovenia - Source of nuclear waste
Relevant government actorsThe Government of Republic of Croatia; The State Office for Nuclear Safety, Croatia; The National Assembly of Republic of Srpska; Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; The Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republic of Srpska
Environmental justice organisations and other supporters"STOP deponiji radioaktivnog otpada na Trgovskoj gori"; Local authorities in the Una River Basin; Political party “Živi zid” (Living Wall); Local Action Group LAG-UNA, Associacion "Iskra", Novi Grad; “Regionalnog foruma za okolišnu sigurnost i suradnju”; Associations "Zrinjska gora" and "Put kestena"; Mining, Geology and Civil Engineering Faculty of University of Tuzla, among others.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Young people and kids, beekeepers, Serbian minority
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Diplomatic activities
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responsePublic discussions
Development of AlternativesThe opponents agree that the best solution would be to invest in new tanks in the existing waste repository in Slovenia. The government of Bosnian and Herzegovina leads a diplomatic battle against the project.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.It stays to be seen in 2016 if the diplomatic and public pressure will make the Croatian government quit the idea of depositing nuclear waste in Trgovska gora.
Sources and Materials

Decision on public discussion continuation
[click to view]


Critical analysis of "Strategic studies for national program implementation strategy of radioactive waste management"
[click to view]


U ovom mjestu u Hrvatskoj će se skladištiti nuklearni otpad iz Krškog.
[click to view]

Hrvatske Srbe zavadio nuklearni otpad u Dvoru
[click to view]

Zvizdić: Hrvatska nuklearni otpad treba skladištiti u Krškom, ne na Trgovskoj gori
[click to view]

Trans-boundary resistance against the storage
[click to view]

Report from the public debate
[click to view]

Activists against the representative of Croatian Office for Nuclear Safety
[click to view]

Government of B&H united against the storage in Dvor
[click to view]

Croatian newspapers on the storage
[click to view]

Trgovska gora and nuclear waste
[click to view]

Serbian minority and nuclear waste in Trgovska gora
[click to view]

Slovenia suggest joint nuclear storage to Croatia
[click to view]

Report from the protest and public hearing in Dvor
[click to view]

B&H demands solution from Croatia
[click to view]

Trgovska gora is predominantly inhabited by Serbian minority
[click to view]

Letter by the representative of Serbian minority
[click to view]

Trabs-boundary impact of nuclear waste
[click to view]

On economic aspect of the case
[click to view]

About plans to build nuclear waste storage
[click to view]

Diplomatic battle
[click to view]

B&H authorities at the ESPOO conference
[click to view]

Public discussion
[click to view]

Croatian Radioactive Waste Site Alarms Bosnians (in English)
[click to view]

Open letter to the president of Croatia
[click to view]

RS opposed to Croatia's plan to build radioactive waste storage facility near border (in English)
[click to view]

Bosnia and Croatia Spar Over Radioactive Waste Site (in English)
[click to view]

Media Links

Local reactions on the storage
[click to view]

Issue related news
[click to view]

Protest in Dvor unites Croatia and B&H actors
[click to view]

Protests in Dvor
[click to view]

Protest in Zagreb
[click to view]

TV interview with activist Dijana Savić and director of State Office for Nuclear Safety -Saša Medaković
[click to view]

Public discussion in Dvor
[click to view]

Mayor of Petrinja against the nuclear waste
[click to view]

Bosnian authorities reaction
[click to view]

Other Documents

Dvor says NO to nuclear waste disposal Citizents of Dvor protesting against the nuclear waste repository at Trgovska gora
[click to view]

Citizents of Novi Grad, Bosnia signing petition against the repository Activists and citizens in Bosnia opposed the idea of nuclear waste storage in Trgovska gora
[click to view]

"Una river has no price" and "Trgovska gora-NO, thank you" Protest at the Una river
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update20/12/2016