Temelin heats up (emotions)

The environmental organisation Greenpeace has been stepping up its campaign against the nuclear power station at Temelin. Last week, they informed the Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety about serious safety flaws at Temelin. Czech President Vaclav Havel has thrown his weight in favour of the environmentalists and demanded a detailed report on Temelin's safety. However, the Nuclear Safety Office says it has not found anything wrong at the plant. Vladimir Tax reports.

Greenpeace said they obtained information from people inside the power station who said there was poor welding work on primary circuit pipelines and that the impulse lines which serve for measurement were installed at the wrong angle. Greepeace also informed President Havel about their findings, who then asked the State Office for Nuclear Safety to present a detailed report on safety at Temelin.

The spokesman for the Office, Vratislav Fajman, explained that one of the problems of concern to Greenpeace has already been corrected and that the other does not pose a safety risk at all: The State Office for Nuclear Safety has agreed with Greenpeace on consultations due on Tuesday. But as Mr. Fajman told Radio Prague, in the meantime, Greenpeace filed charges against an unknown perpetrator because of the alleged deficiencies in safety.

The Czech Republic's second nuclear power plant is likely to be put in operation in mid-September. Meanwhile, stockbrokers said that foreign investors have been watching the preparations for bringing Temelin on-line just as carefully as the latest news about the privatisation of the energy sector. Analysts said successful tests and a go-ahead for putting the plant into operation would be highly beneficial for the shares of Temelin's owner, the monopoly power utility CEZ. On the other hand, any delays or other problems are likely to weaken the company's stock and a termination of the project, as demanded by environmentalists, could be fatal.

However, fortunately for investors, there are no indications that the project will be stopped. The State Office for Nuclear Safety has the final say, and according to Mr. Fajman, there are no obstacles for Temelin to go on-line: