Friday, August 28, 1998 Published at 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK
Full ahead for Slovak nuclear reactor
International experts expressed reservations about the plant
The reactor at Mochovce, about 180km east of Vienna, was built to an original Soviet design, but has since been equipped with Western technology.
It has been opposed by Austria on safety grounds. When the first reactor was switched on last month, the Austrian Chancellor, Viktor Klima, described the decision as an unfriendly and highly irresponsible act. He threatened to withdraw Austria's ambassador.
Such criticism has been rejected as politically motivated by the Slovak energy utility responsible for running Mochovce, which claims instead that the plant is a successful example of East-West co-operation in nuclear energy.
A second reactor is expected to go on line next year, after which it is planned that the plant will supply 14 % of the country's electricity.
Controversy from the start
Controversy has surrounded the power plant at Mochovce from the moment construction began in the early 1980s.
Work was halted in the early 1990s when the project ran into financial problems. A Franco-German plan to complete it collapsed when the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development withdrew in 1996.
The plant was finally finished mainly by Czech and Russian engineers, with limited French and German involvement.
The BBC's Central Europe reporter says twelve years after the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, nuclear energy remains an emotive issue in eastern Europe.