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Industry News

Czech, Austrian Chiefs To Meet About Temelin

LCG, Oct. 19, 2000--Prime Minister Milos Zeman of the Czech Republic and Austria's Chancellor Wolfgang Schssel plan to meet October 31 in Brno, southeast of Prague, to discuss the Czech nuclear power plant at Temelin.

The Temelin plant, strongly opposed by Austria which is a national "nuclear free zone," began its start-up process last week when it "went critical" with its first nuclear chain reaction. It is expected to take several months to reach full capacity and begin commercial operation.

Shortly after the meeting between Zeman and Schssel was announced, the Austrian parliament passed a resolution calling for Schssel to do what he can to prevent Temelin from being placed on-line. The Czechs, bedeviled for the past few weeks by Austrian protesters blockading border crossings, are unlikely to be deterred by Austrian resolutions.

In fact, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan said Prague set as a precondition for the October 31 meeting the cessation of all disruptions along the Czech-Austria border.

Kavan, speaking at a news conference following talks in Brussels with the European Union's "enlargement" commissioner Guenther Verheugen, said if there were any more blockades there would be no meeting.

The Brussels meeting was called by Verheugen in part because interruption of traffic between member nations is banned by the EU, including traffic between members and applicant nations, and in part because Schssel has repeatedly threatened to block the Czech application for membership in the EU if Prague did not accede to Austrian demands that Temelin be abandoned.

According to Radio Prague, Verheugen said that border blockades neither boosted dialogue nor benefited the free movement of goods.

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