Plans to expand Temelín provoke Austrian anger

Christiane Brunner, photo:

ČEZ’s decision to more than double Temelín’s capacity has raised hackles in neighbouring anti-nuclear Austria. Politicians in Upper Austria, which lies under 30 kilometres away, have threatened legal action and even border blockades if the expansion goes ahead. The Austrian Green Party ranks amongst the plan’s most vociferous critics. A little earlier, I asked the Austrian Greens’ spokesperson, Christiane Brunner, what her party’s problem with the new reactors was:

“It is a problem that we have with the expansion of Temelín, but also with atomic power in general. Austrian policy, and especially the Green Party’s policy, is against nuclear power because we think it is not a safe technology. We still remember what happened in Chernobyl and I think that for the future, we have to concentrate our energy supplies on renewable energy and not on atomic power.”

But surely at a time when countries like Britain are planning new nuclear power plants and the whole of the EU is discussing reducing its dependence upon Russian oil, extending existing nuclear power plants like Temelín is quite a good idea?

“From our point of view, it is not. Of course we have to make our energy supplies more independent from fossil fuels, from Russia, but I think that also from this point of view, atomic power is not the right solution. Also, resources from atomic power – we don’t have enough of them in the European Union – we will still be dependent on imports even with atomic power. So we have to change our energy systems to renewable resources. And you also have to consider all the health aspects and the environmental aspects, and for us, this is not the way to go.”

What would the Austrian Green Party, and indeed Austrians in general, rather the Czech Republic do than expand Temelín nuclear power plant?

“In the long term, all countries should change their energy systems to renewable resources, and this we have to do step by step. In the meantime, maybe we will still need some gas and oil resources, but in the long term, we have to change our systems to renewables, and this we have to start now, and take the first steps.”

Are you planning any actions to stop the Czechs from expanding Temelín’s capacity, for example, legal action, or even border blockades?

“So far, we haven’t planned any extreme actions, what we will do now is ask for information, is ask for the highest standards in planning permission procedures, and then we will think about other action as well. But so far, we haven’t planned anything.”