Czechs will continue to mine uranium

Earlier this week, the Social Democrat government decided to extend uranium mining in the Czech Republic by another two years. In the wake of continued protests over the Temelin nuclear power plant, the Trade and Industry Ministry now faces fresh controversy. Linda Mastalir reports:

On Wednesday, the very same day that the European Commission released its report on the EU candidate countries, the Czech government made a controversial decision regarding the uranium mine of Rozna in Moravia. Formally, uranium mining was due to be halted in the Czech Republic by January 1, 2002, but that date has now been extended by two years. I spoke to Libor Roucek, the government's spokesman, and asked him why the government has decided to continue mining in Rozna? Although the Czech Republic may actually be able to compete on the international market, there is another issue at stake. Last year, the Czech government promised the European Union that it would end uranium mining by the end of 2001, and that will now clearly not be the case. I asked Mr. Roucek whether there is any concern regarding the European Union's reaction to this development: According to Mr. Roucek, Trade and Industry Minister Miroslav Gregr, together with Foreign Minister Jan Kavan, should prepare a report on the matter for the European Commission by November 30th.