Archive, From the Archive, slovakia

From the Archive: Industrialization in Eastern Europe

After an alumina plant spill of a privatized and formerly state-owned company near the Hungarian town of Devecser, north of Lake Balaton, last week, no aftermath assessment of the victims has appeared in the media. Several deaths were reported; the spill seeped into the Danube and officials report the level of contamination to be within safe, potable limits. The head of the company responsible was arrested only to be released quickly there after due to a lack of evidence.

This prompted me to return to my visit to a nuclear facility in neighboring Slovakia in Jaslovske Bohunice, near the capitol Bratislava. For a country of just five million people in Central Europe, there are two nuclear facilities which began operation with the assistance of the former Soviet Union that continue to provide a substantial source of power for the country. Ninety-eight percent of oil and gas supplies are delivered at a subsidized rate from nearby Russia through Ukraine.

The nuclear facility in Jaslovske Bohunice was in the process of being decommissioned. I was privileged to be able to photograph inside the control room of the V1 generating station at the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power plant and visit the nation’s other nuclear facility at Mochovce, east of the capitol.

Jaslovske Bohunice is in the multi-year process of shutting down the V1 reactor prior to decommissioning it in wake of a political compromise decision made with Austria in an effort to usher Slovakia’s admission into the European Union. Austria expressed concerns about past accidents at the site and its proximity to the Austrian capitol of Vienna, evoking Chernobyl and the potential of a Europe-wide catastrophe in the political process. Without further ado, the decommissioning V1 generating station at the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power plant.