NATO Secretary General visits Prague to examine summit preparations

Ed Fagan

The flamboyant U.S. lawyer Ed Fagan arrived in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, to launch phase two of his battle against the Temelin nuclear power plant.

Ed Fagan
One month ago Mr Fagan - recently recruited by Austrian anti-nuclear activists - gave Temelin's operators - CEZ - and the company which supplied the plant's safety - Westinghouse - 30 days in which to hand over all documents concerning safety at Temelin. They failed to do so, saying in a letter to Mr Fagan that the documents contained confidential business secrets. Mr Fagan wasn't impressed:

"The letter said two sentences that I think are particularly important: 'Much of the technology and information is the subject of contractual relationships between CEZ and Westinghouse. There is no obligation or justification to provide you with any documents.' To those people at Westinghouse that may hear what I have to say: you think you have no obligation or justification to turn over documents? You're dead wrong. You're going to turn them over. You're going to turn them over pursuant to a court order. You're going to turn them over if we have to drag you kicking and screaming into every court in the world."

Mr Fagan was refused access to the documents on Tuesday. But CEZ did allow him into Temelin itself, and engineer Jiri Tyc gave him a guided tour. Mr Tyc was clearly bemused by Mr Fagan's demands, pointing out that 90 percent of the information had already been made public. Nonetheless he patiently answered all Mr Fagan's questions, receiving praise from the American lawyer for his helpfulness. But Mr Fagan said it was now up to Westinghouse to be equally accommodating. The price of non-compliance, he said, would be severe:

"I'm advised by my Czech colleagues that under Czech law no. 106, we're entitled to the documents related to the nuclear power plant at Temelin. Not the nice pretty things that you see in the visitor's centre, but the technical documents. I'm also advised that the Czech Republic signed a treaty, an international treaty called the Aarhus Convention. The Czech Republic signed that along with other (sic) members of the EU. That convention addresses the access to documents related to nuclear power plants... We will get access to those documents. We will sue in the United States. We will sue in the Czech Republic. And we will sue in the European Union."

Mr Fagan held out an olive branch to Westinghouse, giving them another 30 days to come up with the goods.

"Based on the good faith first step of what I experienced today, I will give them another 30 days. But I will not give them 30 days and one second. On April 19th, I will be in Salzburg. That will be one day after the expiration of the 30 days. And I pray that they will see the wisdom of the additional time. You know that old expression: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Mr Fagan made similar unspecified threats the last time, and nothing happened. Mr Fagan's critics say he's all mouth and no trousers, and that nothing will happen on April 19th either. CEZ and Westinghouse must be hoping they're right.