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February 6, 2024

Today, the U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia, Jamie Harpootlian, provided Tina Seršen, the State Secretary from the Ministry of the Environment, Climate, and Energy, a letter awarding Slovenia technical advisory and consulting services funded by the United States as part of Project Phoenix – a program for coal-to-nuclear small modular reactor (SMR) conversion.  This award supports Slovenia’s clean energy and climate goals.

Project Phoenix is part of the U.S. Department of State’s Foundational Infrastructure for the Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) Program that provides capacity building support for partner countries under the highest standards of safety, security, and nonproliferation.

In June 2023, at the invitation of the Embassy of the United States in Slovenia, the Ministry of the Environment, Climate, and Energy successfully applied to participate in Project Phoenix.  The application was prepared by the Ministry of the Environment, Climate, and Energy as the coordinator, with cooperation from GEN Energija, Termoelektrarna Šoštanj, Holding Slovenske elektrarne, and the consulting company HATCH.  Later, ELES and the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration also joined the project.  Sargent & Lundy, a global leader in power and energy services, was competitively selected by the U.S. Department of State to receive a grant to provide Slovenian SMR stakeholders with coal-to-nuclear technical advisory and consultancy services.

“Participation in Project Phoenix provides Slovenia with an opportunity to fulfill the commitments of the National Energy and Climate Plan (NEPN), which includes examining the possibilities of introducing new nuclear technologies,” emphasized Tina Seršen, State Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment, Climate, and Energy.  She added, “New nuclear technologies primarily refers to Small Modular Reactors and Advanced Modular Reactor technologies (SMRs and AMRs), which are the subject of advisory technical assistance under Project Phoenix. This technology has recently been intensively developing worldwide, and we are certainly interested in exploring its potential use in Slovenia.”

The Ministry of the Environment, Climate, and Energy has established a project team to collaborate with the consulting firm Sargent & Lundy in conducting a pre-feasibility study on the introduction of new nuclear technologies.  With the help of Project Phoenix, the project and commitments from the NEPN could be accelerated and fulfilled in approximately one year.

The United States and Slovenia value our strong partnership on long-term peaceful use of nuclear energy in Slovenia, including advanced SMRs and large-scale reactors.

For additional information on SMRs, please see Project Phoenix


Click here for the Slovenian version of the press release.