U.S. lawyer to Temelin contractors: "Publish documents or feel the pain"

20-02-2001

Well the face of U.S. lawyer Ed Fagan is splashed across the front pages of the Czech papers today, along with warnings and threats to the operators of the Czech Republic's controversial Temelin nuclear power station. Mr Fagan has offered to represent Austrian anti-nuclear activists in their crusade against Temelin - for free - as they try to get the plant shut down. Dita Asiedu has the story:

Edward FaganEdward Fagan Mr Fagan, a rather fierce-looking lawyer who successfully won billions of dollars in compensation for Holocaust victims, says he's determined to shut down Temelin for good. Mr Fagan says he has a good chance of winning the case, flatly ignoring claims from the power plant's operators CEZ, the U.S. company Westinghouse - which provided the plant's safety and operational equipment, and the Czech government, who all say Temelin is safe. The plant, which had to be shut down on January 17th in order to repair a faulty turbine, is to be put back on-line by the end of the week. Mr Fagan, however, is determined to postpone reactivation, as he strongly believes the plant is unsafe. "There have been 9 errors in the six months that the plant's first reactor has been in operation, and everyone - Westinghouse, the Czech government, as well as the reactor's operators, claim that nothing's wrong. Do they think we're stupid?" he fumed at a press conference in the Austrian village of Wullowitz.

Austrian opposition to Temelin resulted in the signing of an agreement between the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman and the Austrian Chancellor, Wolfgang Schussel. They agreed to conduct an environmental impact study at the plant, overseen by the European Commission. Although everything has been set in motion by the two leaders, Mr Fagan says the agreement is nothing more than a political document. He claimed that the Czech Prime Minister was only interested in the financial benefits and had given little attention to the health of Czech citizens. Mr Fagan called on all those responsible for the plant's activation to go and live in the Temelin area if they really believed Temelin was safe. "This is not about me", he said, "it's about families and children who could become victims of a nuclear disaster". His first step has been to demand that Westinghouse hand over all documents on the safety of the plant by March 20th. If they failed to comply, he said, he would "cause pain in the senior management ranks". Strong words - whether he's got what it takes to back them up remains to be seen.

20-02-2001