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December 27, 2011

Signing Ceremony for the Flue Gas Desulphurization Construction Project for Thermal Power Plant Nikola Tesla in Serbia

PhotoThe TPP Nikola Tesla A, where the first Japanese ODA loan project in Serbia will be implemented

On November 24, a signing ceremony was held in Obrenovac, one of the municipalities of Belgrade, which is the capital of the Republic of Serbia, for the first Japanese ODA loan project in Serbia. Situated 30 kilometers from the center of Belgrade, Minicipality of Obrenobac is the location of the Thermal Power Plant (TPP) Nikola Tesla A, the largest power facility in Serbia. With six generation units, the TPP Nikola Tesla A can produce a total of 1,649 megawatts of electricity, and as the producer of one-fourth of the electricity used in Serbia, plays a vital role. The fact that the plant was named for Serbia's most famous scientist and inventor, Nikola Tesla, bears testament to this power plant being one of the most important facilities in the country.

Many of Serbia's power plants, including the TPP Nikola Telsa A, were constructed during the socialist Yugoslavia era, and have now been in use for more than three decades since beginning operation in the 1960s and 1970s. Moreover, in the 1990s, Serbia suffered NATO air strikes as a result of the conflicts that arose in the Former Yugoslavia region, and also was affected by international economic sanctions, resulting in a "lost decade" during which the development of domestic industry stagnated. In 2000, the authoritarian regime of President Milošević was overthrown, and since the return of Serbia to the international community, progress has been made on updating old power generation facilities, which had been neglected, and efforts have continued to improve the efficiency of power production. However, environmental measures for removing air pollutants contained in the smoke that power plants emit have not yet been implemented.

PhotoAgreement complete. From left, Ambassador Tsunozaki, Chief Representative Kurosawa, General Manager Marković of the Public Enterprise Electric Power Industry and Deputy Prime Minister Đelić

The smoke that is discharged from the smokestacks of the power plants results from burning coal in a boiler, and contains the harmful substance sulphur dioxide (SO2), which adversely affects the health of people living near the power plants. The Japanese government therefore decided, as the first Japanese ODA loan project i to provide assistance to Serbia for installing devices that remove the sulphur dioxide from the smoke discharged from power plants, and it was announced when Serbia's President Tadić visited to Japan in March of this year. Immediately after the announcement, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, and preparation for the project took quite some time. Serbia indicated its understanding of Japan's situation, and expressed great gratitude for implementing this project according to schedule despite Japan's difficulties due to the earthquake. Serbia also sent donations and many warm messages for earthquake recovery. At last, the signing ceremony for the agreement to start this project has now been held, and the main work of the project will get underway.

In the signing ceremony, first, an exchange document with the agreement for Japan and Serbia to implement the project was exchanged between apanese Ambassador to Serbia, Mr. Tunozaki and Mr. Đelić,Deputy Prime Minister in Serbia. Next, Mr. Kurosawa, Resident Representative of the JICA Balkan Office, and Mr. Marković, General Manager of the Public Enterprise Electric Power Industry of Serbia signed an agreement promising to provide the required funds for the project in the form of repayable loan aid. Many media teams were present for the realization of the first Japanese ODA loan in Serbia, and on that day's news broadcast, all of the television stations reported the event along with the words of Deputy Prime Minister Đelić, "Thank you, everyone in Japan!", which he spoke in Japanese. At the celebration after the signing, the refreshments even included Sushi, raising the mood of friendliness toward Japan. The attendees all appeared to enjoy Sushi , eating them in Serbian style (picking up a piece of Sushi with a fork and soaking it in a dish filled to the brim with soy sauce).

PhotoSmiles break out after a tense signing ceremony. Signers, from left: Ambassador Tsunozaki, Chief Representative Kurosawa, Deputy Prime Minister Đelić

The project has only just begun. Currently, the amount of sulphur dioxide being emitted from the TPP Nikola Tesla A is 10 times the standard established by the European Union (EU). Aiming to join the EU, Serbia is advancing a number of domestic reforms, but environmental measures are one of the most important issues that Serbia must resolve. In order to adapt to the EU's new environmental standards to be implemented beginning in 2016, Serbia is promoting this project and making it obligatory to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions. With the large scale of construction involved, it will take seven years to complete this project, and during the time, JICA will support the Public Enterprise Electric Power Industry of Serbia and continue providing cooperation so that the project moves forward smoothly. Furthermore, Japan will continue supporting Serbia's bid to join the EU.

Project Formulation Advisor, JICA Balkan Office
Yumiko Saito

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