Temelin to be launched within hours

24-02-2001

The controversial Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia could be re- started within a matter of hours, following a month-long shutdown due to technical problems. Temelin's spokesman Milan Nebesar told journalists on Friday that the first reactor was ready for re-launch and operators were waiting for the green light from the Czech Nuclear Energy Agency. If the agency gives its approval on Friday, nuclear reaction could begin some time on Saturday. The plant was shut down in mid-January, due to vibrations in the piping of one of the plant's turbines. The most recent failure has delayed by at least one month the planned launch of commercial operation scheduled for May of this year. The outcome of an environmental impact study on Temelin should be made public before the plant makes the transition from trial to commercial operation.

Austrian Greenpeace activists have described the Czech authorities' plans to re- launch Temelin as "a provocation". The spokesman for the Austrian branch of Greenpeace, Erwin Mayer, has called on the public to sign petitions calling for the Austrian government to boycott electricity from the Czech nuclear power station.

Meanwhile, Global 2000, an Austrian environmental organisation, has hotly denied accusations from Prague that it was behind the smuggling of two radiation emitters into the Czech Republic with the intention of spreading panic amongst the Czech public. The emitters were confiscated at an Austrian-Czech border crossing from a German citizen several weeks ago. Global 2000 admitted that it had installed several Geiger counters on private property in the vicinity of the Temelin and Dukovany power plants but said those were merely there for public safety. Although a Global 2000 spokesman admitted that such devices were sometimes tested with the help of radiation emitters he repeated that Global 2000 was not behind the attempted smuggling of the two devices.

24-02-2001