Blockades of Czech-Austrian border crossings renewed, but for how long?
Austrian anti-nuclear activists have renewed their blockades of Czech-Austrian border crossings, despite top-level official negotiations. Their aim is to stop the Temelin nuclear power station in southern Bohemia, and this time they say they will keep going until they succeed. Vladimir Tax has the story:
As of Friday, Austrian anti-nuclear protesters have once again blocked all Czech-Austrian border crossings. They say they are set to bring all traffic to a halt until they receive official assurances that their demands concerning Temelin will be met, namely shutting down Temelin for at least half a year and carrying out thorough safety checks.
The activists claim that 75 percent of Austrians are afraid of Temelin. They believe that the blockades are an instrument powerful enough to force the Czech government to comply. Previous blockades led to a meeting between Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman and Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel earlier this week. However, the only outcome was the setting up of a telephone hotline between Prague and Vienna, and a promise that further talks would be held at the end of November.
Czech Prime Minister Zeman said the renewed blockades could jeopardize relations between the Czech Republic and Austria. He is convinced the blockades will come to an end on Monday at the latest. Otherwise, Mr. Zeman said, his upcoming visit to Vienna would be seriously threatened.
On Thursday, German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin threw his weight behind Austria's demands, saying Temelin was unsafe and that if it were located in Germany, it would never be activated.
Meanwhile, Temelin has increased output to 2.5 percent, and full capacity should be reached within four months. Most ordinary Czechs seem indifferent to the issue, except for thousands of coal miners in northern Bohemia who look set to lose their jobs, because once Temelin reaches full output, old brown-coal power stations in northwestern Bohemia will be closed down.