Train carrying nuclear fuel to Temelin arrives almost unnoticed


A train carrying nuclear fuel to the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant arrived safely at its destination safely on Sunday. The train's route, however, was not announced beforehand, something which has outraged many mayors of towns and villages which saw the train pass by. Alena Skodova has the details:

Under tight security, the nuclear fuel arrived early in afternoon after making a long journey from the Polish sea port of Szczecin to Temelin, situated a few kilometres from the Czech-Austrian border. In Temelin itself, only a handful of protesters were waiting. Mayors of several towns along the route are outraged, however, because it's they who are responsible for any emergency operations in case of an accident. The Czech authorities have defended themselves, saying the whole transport had to be kept secret by law. Jiri Tutter from the Czech branch of Greenpeace says the law is wrong and should be changed.

Jiri Tutter: It definitely is, I guess the roots of this law go back some 40 years, and the whole nuclear industry is still being kept secret, not only the transport of fuel but all the issues linked with the nuclear power generation of nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic, we have this experience from the past couple of months.

Radio Prague: Could something like this happen elsewhere in Europe?

JT: I'm not familiar with the situation of each individual country in Europe, but we witnessed last month in Germany a huge protest against the transport of re-processed fuel, and as I understand from my German colleagues in Germany it is obligatory to announce the route of transport of such a material.

RP: The director of the Temelin plant, Mr. Hezoucky, said the transported fuel was not harmful at all - what's your opinion about that?

JT: Yes, in fact this information is more or less correct, because fresh fuel has only a low radioactivity level, but still it is radioactive to some extent. But the main thing is that it's a part of the whole complex of the nuclear industry secrecy, I think. And I think if there was a transport of spent or re-processed fuel, which is much more dangerous, that it would be kept secret as well. And if then is an accident on the route, on the railway, then it would be a big problem because the local mayors they were not informed at all, and they would be the ones who would have to organize all the rescue works etc.

RP:Will the Czech Greenpeace join their colleagues in Austria and lodge a protest to the government?

JT: We have already informed the respective authorities we were not happy about this situation, it's something that goes against the democratic principle of this country, I recall a result of sociologic studies in the U.K. and it says that where there's a concentration of nuclear industry, they are sort of pockets of totalitarian behaviour so I'm afraid in this country it's a sort of heritage of the past and some groups of industries or influential groups, they're trying to keep on with this policy, and for us this is of course not acceptable.