Until a few days ago, only a handful of Czechs had heard of Ed Fagan, an American trial lawyer best known for winning billions of dollars in compensation for victims of the Holocaust. In the space of three days, however, he's almost become a household name. On Saturday he left the U.S. on a plane bound for the Austrian capital Vienna, which will become the headquarters of his campaign to shut down the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power station - which went into trial operation just over four months ago.
Mr Fagan has agreed to act as a legal consultant - for free, he says - to something called 'The Platform' - a group of Austrian NGOs who have fought a determined battle against Temelin, which is close to the border with fiercely non-nuclear Austria - for the last 12 years. The plant has suffered a number of technical glitches as operators gradually brought the first reactor up to full strength in the last few months. Mr Fagan believes those faults - which the plant's operators say are normal in any testing period - make Temelin another Chernobyl waiting to happen, as he told Radio Prague's Dita Asiedu when she spoke to him earlier by telephone: Claims that Temelin is unsafe have been categorically denied by Westinghouse, the company which provided Temelin with safety and operational equipment. Vaughan Gilbert is the spokesman for Westinghouse.