Czech power utility CEZ filed court action against Upper Austria over Temelin nuclear plant

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

PRAGUE. JUNE 27. INTERFAX CENTRAL EUROPE - Prague and Warsaw-listed Czech power utility CEZ, which operates the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant, filed a complaint in a regional court earlier this month against Upper Austria for its efforts to bring Temelin's operations to a halt, Czech daily Lidove noviny (LN) reported Wednesday.

"We therefore have filed a so-called dilatory action. From our side, we are purely concerned with defending the interests of our shareholders," CEZ spokesman Ladislav Kriz told LN, adding that the company is considering filing a complaint with the European Commission.

Upper Austrian environment councilor Rudi Anschober announced in Linz this week that the region is continuing preparations to file a complaint against CEZ for its alleged failure to meet safety precautions at Temelin.

According to a ruling by the European Court, however, Austrian courts do not have the authority to hear complaints about a nuclear facility operated in another country, and a legal analysis performed by Austrian experts confirmed recently that such a complaint against the Czech Republic is practically impossible, LN reported.

Austrian environmental activists say Temelin, situated some 60 kilometers from the Austrian border, is unsafe and accuse the Czech Republic of having failed to honor the Melk agreement, which requires Czech authorities to provide detailed and timely information about Temelin's operations.

Under that 2001 bilateral agreement, Austria pledged not to block Czech accession to the European Union, realized in May 2004, over the Temelin issue in exchange for having access to extensive information concerning safety conditions at the power plant.

Austrian officials and pressure groups have been calling for the closure of Temelin - a mix of Soviet-era "Chernobyl-type" technology and Western safety modifications - since construction began in the mid-1980s.

Czech officials insist that Temelin complies with international safety standards.

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