Austrian protest in Prague over Temelin nuclear plant

from 03 July 2006

(Translated by Diet Simon)

Three Austrian anti-nuclear activists occupied one of the three Gothic towers of the famous Charles Bridge in Prague in protest at safety concerns at the Temelin power station situated close to the border between Austria and the Czech Republic.

They held one of the two towers on the “Lesser Quarter” side of the bridge for an hour before police led them away, ending the protest. The natural stone bridge, started in 1357 and finished in 1400, is one of Prague’s major tourist attractions.

The demonstrators of the atomstopp_oberoesterreich group demanded that the Czech government honour pledges made under EU auspices to improve safety at the controversial Temelin plant which has had serious safety problems for six years.

They also demand that the Czech authorities immediately forbid the restarting of Block I at Temelin and that an international investigation team be given immediate access to check on the latest three incidents in the block.

“The Czech Republic is stubbornly refusing to implement the pledges made in the Brussels agreement and is thereby breaking international law,” said Roland Egger, spokesman of atomstopp_oberoesterreich. It was agreed in Brussels in 2001 that before Temelin started commercial operation, it would be retrofitted for greater safety.

The activists’ description of their protest: “On one side the tower was draped with banners reading "STOP Temelin", "" and showing radioactivity emblems. Sirens howled from the tower. With blocking tapes reading “Caution radioactive” and explanatory flyers thrown from the tower passers-by were informed about the dramatic situation in Temelin.”

A report published last October confirms that in the major points raised the safety of the power station has not been improved. The activists say there is not even an indication from the Czech government that it’s considering remedying the deficits.

“Only talks about safety are being offered for this autumn.”

Block I has been out of action since early June because of grave irregularities in operating the steering rods which regulate the chain reaction; this is the reactor’s most important safety device which has to work flawlessly in case the reactor needs to switched off quickly.

The rods are seriously deformed, which prevents them moving fast enough into the active zone.

For more information:

Roland Egger +43 664 421 56 13
Andreas Reimer +43 664 132 83 70

Bearbeitet am: 30.07.2005/ad

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