Temelin issue before Austrian court

The issue of the Czech nuclear power station of Temelin, South Bohemia, which has caused nationwide controversy for years, landed in Austrian court for the first time last Friday. The District Court in Austrian Linz is dealing with a lawsuit by the Province of Upper Austria against the Czech power utility CEZ, the owner of Temelin, for "default". Upper Austria wants to prevent the plant from going into full operation for alleged safety risks.

Lawyers for the plaintiff specifically said the province was the owner of a strip of land close to the border with the Czech Republic and therefore had the right to file suit against the possibility of "effects" on its land from a possible nuclear incident at Temelin, about 70 kilometres away.

If the lawsuit were approved by the court, the CEZ must either refrain from putting Temelin into full operation, or face a massive fine.

Defending CEZ, Linz lawyer Wolfgang Moringer said the suit was incompatible with international law. He said an Austrian court was not competent to deal with the case.