Temelin could be shut down for 10 days

The spokesman for the Temelin nuclear power station said on Wednesday that the plant will probably be shut down for ten days, to allow employees to carry out repairs and maintenance. The announcement came after a series of tests and a number of technical problems, including vibrations in a generator turbine and an oil leak. The spokesman said Temelin would be restarted after the repair work and would continue to supply electricity to the national grid until June, when it will be shut down for a month, to allow technicians to change the ventilators. Anti-nuclear activists say the constant stopping and starting is hazardous, and the problems are proof that Temelin is unsafe.

By Daniela Lazarova

The Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel has said that the constant stopping and starting up of the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant is proof that Austria's concerns regarding its safety were legitimate. At a press conference following a meeting of the Austrian Cabinet, Chancellor Schussel said that he was glad that the Czech Republic was finally taking the matter seriously and fulfilling the terms of the Melk agreement.

Meanwhile, here in Prague Czech anti-nuclear activists said they would not be taking part in any border blockades held in protest against Temelin's trial operation. "Blockades block dialogue with the authorities and we consider it far more important to find out what exactly is wrong with the plant's turbine" one of the activists told the CTK news agency. The turbine has caused repeated problems in recent weeks, causing the plant to be stopped and re-started within 48 hour periods. The power utility CEZ, which built and operates the plant, maintains that frequent repair work is a normal part of any trial operation.