Temelin controversy continues

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel has ruled out the possibility of his country's vetoing Czech membership in the EU in connection with the ongoing controversy over the Temelin nuclear power plant. "No amount of vetoes would make Temelin safer" Mr. Schussel told reporters in Vienna on Tuesday, saying that his government would continue talks with Prague. The remarks came shortly after the Austrian Right Wing Freedom Party said it would launch a nationwide petition for Austria to veto Czech membership in the EU if the Temelin power plant becomes fully operational. Earlier Tuesday, Austrian anti- nuclear activists disrupted a public hearing on the safety of the Temelin nuclear power plant held at Vienna's historic Hofburg Palace. Austrian and EU officials present at the hearing later described it as "fruitful".

Austria's environment minister, Wilhelm Molterer, added his voice to that of the Chancellor's, urging anti-nuclear activists to show greater restraint. "The Austrian government wants to continue talks in line with the Melk agreement", the environment minister said. "Anyone who casts doubt on this agreement, is undermining the Austrian government's position and playing into the hands of Temelin's advocates".