Christmas at Temelin
Well, the Christmas holidays are over and amidst celebrations throughout the country, it appears that even the Temelin nuclear power station in south Bohemia didn't evade holiday festivities. On Christmas Eve Austrian opponents of the station put up a Christmas tree outside the plant. Radio Prague's Nicole Klement has more...
But in November the long-running row between Prague and Vienna calmed when Czechs agreed to new stricter safety measures and the Austrians promised not to block the Czech Republic's accession talks with the European Union. However, members of the Austrian government's junior coalition partner - the Austrian Freedom Party, disapprove of the agreement and want the plant to be shut down. They continue to lobby for a referendum against the Czech Republic joining the European Union, whilst Temelin's operators continue to prepare the plant for full use. In fact, for a week now the power station has been running one of its reactors at 90%, pumping out more than 800 megawatts of electricity. Though the plant is running, full operation is not expected until March of next year, when hundreds of operational tests are to be completed.
Austrian opponents to the plant have demonstrated in many ways over the last couple of years. But this Christmas they protested in a more original manner. No border blockades, no crowds, instead eleven anti-Temelin activists walked 6 days and 200 kilometres from the Austrian town of Zwentendorf, to erect a Christmas tree and eat a Christmas dinner of beans and gulas stew, outside the Temelin nuclear power plant on Christmas Eve. The protesters said they wished to show the Czech nation that they were friends and as friends they wanted to show Czechs that the Temelin nuclear power plant was outdated and unsafe.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new tradition- a friendly relationship between protesters and the plant. The plant is showing some good will to- over the holidays no technical problems have been announced.