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Wednesday, 23 August, 2000, 00:09 GMT 01:09 UK
Germany warns on Czech nuclear safety
Temelin plant
The Czechs say the plant meets international standards
The German Government has called on the Czech Republic to abandon plans to open a nuclear power station, because of fears about the safety of its Russian-designed reactors.

The move follows concerns raised in a report commissioned by Germany's environment ministry, which says the Temelin nuclear plant is not fit to be brought into service in its current state.

The Temelin power station, which is due to start operating in a few weeks, is in southern Bohemia and lies about 50km from both the German and Austrian borders.

As far as our knowledge goes there are no doubts about Temelin's fitness to get a licence

Dana Drabova, Czech Nuclear Safety Office

But the Czech Nuclear Safety Office has rejected German objections, saying the reactor meets international standards.

Germany's environment minister, Juergen Trittin, says that Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactors in the power station
have numerous technical flaws.

Fears unfounded

However, the chairwoman of the Czech nuclear safety office, Dana Drabova, told journalists that a report based on information exchanged between Czech and German nuclear experts did not support Mr Trittin's fears.

"As far as our knowledge goes there are no facts which could lead to doubts about Temelin's fitness to get a licence," she said.

But Edvard Sequens, a member of the Czech Calla environmental group based in southern Bohemia, has welcomed the results of the German report.

"Temelin would not pass tests in Germany and it is therefore not surprising that Germans have rejected it," he said, speaking to the Czech news agency CTK.

Fuel loading

Last month, after numerous delays and financial difficulties, the Czech Government approved the loading of fuel into the plant.

If it gives the go-ahead, the power station could be operating in weeks.

The Temelin site's closeness to Austria and Germany has also prompted environmental protests in both countries.

Austria is nuclear-free while Germany, after months of talks with its nuclear power industry, has recently agreed a timetable to phase out its nuclear power plants.

However, a BBC correspondent says the Czech authorities are unlikely to be deterred by German concerns, pointing to the plant being built with the backing of the Anglo-American Westinghouse Electric Company.

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See also:

23 Jun 00 | Europe
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15 Jun 00 | Business
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