The controversy and disputes surrounding the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia continue unabated. On Tuesday the Austrian Parliament passed an extensive resolution against Temelin, that again links the issue to Czech EU accession. Nick Carey has this report:
Austrian concerns over the Temelin nuclear plant show no sign of slackening, especially as the first reactor at Temelin is due to be put on line on September 15th. Not a day has gone by over the past few weeks where a statement or demand has not been made by an Austrian politician, ecologist or man on the street, that Temelin should either not be put into operation, or that if this is unavoidable, that issues over safety standards should govern whether the Czech Republic should be allowed to join the EU or not.
A recent opinion poll showed that more than ninety percent of those Austrians asked stated that Czech EU accession should indeed be conditional on safety standards at Temelin. This followed just days after Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel said that if Austrian concerns were not addressed, the Austrian government would prevent the completion of the energy legislation chapter of Czech EU accession talks, which could effectively block Czech EU membership.
With public and political opinion in Austria firmly against Temelin, the move on Tuesday in the Austrian Parliament is not terribly surprising. The resolution was passed almost unanimously, and calls on the Austrian government not to agree to the closure of the energy chapter until the Czechs prove that Temelin meets safety standards common in the European Union. During the debate on the resolution the Austrian Chancellor was again highly critical of the Czech Republic's position on Temelin, and said that the Czech government should have more respect and concern for the fears of other people.
Just what effect this resolution will have is unclear. As the Czech government has stated categorically that Temelin is safe, and does meet international safety standards, it will go on line, no matter what. With the two sides at loggerheads over the issue, this is all far from over.
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