Temelin back in the news after Czech no-show at Salzburg meeting


On Wednesday nuclear experts and Austrian anti-nuclear activists held an unofficial meeting in the Austrian town of Salzburg. Top of the agenda was concerns over safety at the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power plant, just across the border in South Bohemia. U.S. lawyer Ed Fagan, who has thrown a handful of threats and ultimatums at the Czech Republic over Temelin, also took part. But neither representatives of Temelin nor of the Czech Nuclear Safety Authority turned up, further souring relations between the two sides. More from Lucie Krupickova:

Ed Fagan has repeatedly threatened lawsuits if Temelin's operators CEZ failed to produce documents on safety at the plant. The latest threat came on Thursday, when he said Prague would be hit with a lawsuit so damaging it would feel like 'being hit with a baseball bat.' Another threat from Mr Fagan, but what are his options? Not many, says Kerry Skyring from Radio Austria International.

Kerry Skyring: I would have imagined there aren't any immediate outcomes or immediate negative factors. As I understand he has several legal possibilities and has not made clear which ones he's following through. One is to go to the United States courts and demand there documents from Westinghouse, the American company which upgraded Temelin. He also says it's possible to go to a Czech court and demand documents be produced. And he points out there's an agreement between the EU and the Czech Republic which guarantees access to important information. That process will take time so immediate impact would not be evident.

Radio Prague: Quite recently an international group of environmental experts made an assessment to the public saying that the negative impact of the nuclear power plant Temelin on the environment is very low and therefore acceptable. Why hasn't this assessment been convincing for the anti-nuclear activists, and especially for Austria?

KS: Most of the Temelin opponents here are saying that this environmental impact statement hasn´t addressed their main concerns about Temelin. In fact they say if we take hardline opponents of Lower Austria, from the provincial government in Linz, they're unanimous in demanding a return to start a complete re-negotiation Melk agreement, more time to be spent on the environmental impact statement which would look at a comparison between not having Temelin, a complete no-Temelin statement if you like to say that the Czech Republic would do without Temelin. The official response from the Minister for the Environment here, Mr Molterer, is that the environmental impact statement is a serious attempt to address the impact of Temelin but that is incomplete. The things that Austria was asking to be included weren't included in the report.

For their part, Temelin representatives and the people from the Czech Nuclear Safety Authority say they were not legally bound to attend the Salzburg meeting. Temelin spokesman Milan Nebesar denied allegations that the plant's operators were ignoring Austrian citizens. According to the recent bilateral Melk Agreement, the Czech Nuclear Safety Office is only bound to participate in official meetings, planned for next Wednesday next week in the Czech town of Ceské Budejovice, and for May 9th in the Austrian town of Linz.

Author: Lucie Krupičková
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