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Enel Nuclear Building Permit Violated Law, Slovak Court Says

Slovakia’s nuclear watchdog violated the law when it issued a building permit for Enel SpA’s 3.7 billion-euro ($5 billion) nuclear project because Greenpeace wasn’t allowed to comment, the Supreme Court ruled.

The Italian utility’s local unit, Slovenske Elektrarne AS, in 2009 began building two new reactors at the Mochovce nuclear power plant after receiving a permit by the Office for Nuclear Supervision. The high court asked the regulator to repeat the proceeding and include Greenpeace, according to the June 27 ruling posted on the office’s website today.

“We wanted to know more about the project, but we were not allowed,” Juraj Rizman, the head of Greenpeace Slovak office, said by phone from the capital Bratislava. “This isn’t a dispute about nuclear energy as such, it’s a dispute about respecting the law and citizens’ right to have a say.”

The construction is already facing delays and cost overruns, which Slovenske has attributed to tougher safety standards after the Fukushima nuclear accident. Enel plans to boost generation capacity in the country, which is seeking to regain self-sufficiency in power production following the shutdown of Soviet-era reactors.

The office will restart the proceeding and allow Greenpeace to inspect all documents, Dagmar Zemanova, the spokesman for the regulator, said. The ruling, which can’t be appealed, doesn’t imply work on the project must be halted immediately, she said.

The ruling doesn’t revoke the permit and works on the site can continue, an Enel company spokesperson said.

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