No more nuclear 'taboo,' Croatian leader says

Monday, June 9, 2008

Vienna - Croatia must "lift the taboo" on nuclear power and have a broad debate on its energy future, Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said Saturday. Sanader's remarks to Austrian national radio came just days after a coolant leak focused attention on Slovenia's Krsko nuclear reactor, located near the Croatian border and jointly owned by both countries.

"I believe we will have to debate energy policy very shortly in Austria as well as in Croatia," Sanader said. "As part of that, we simply have to lift the taboo on nuclear power."

He noted that his government has begun a review of Croatia's energy policy that it expects to present to the public by October.

Western-built Krsko, which went online in the mid-1980s, is former Yugoslavia's only commercial nuclear reactor.

Austria, however, is unlikely to heed Sanader's call. Voters narrowly rejected nuclear power in a 1978 referendum and Austria has often criticized reactor safety in its ex-communist neighbours, notably at the Czech Republic's Temelin plant.

Sanader was to meet Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer in Vienna on Sunday, hours before the two countries' football teams face off in the Austrian capital in the Euro 2008 championship.

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