Thursday, 17 April 2014

Czechs dismiss German Greens' criticism of Temelín nuclear plant

10 September 2013

Prague, Sept 9 (CTK) - The Czech energy utility CEZ and the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SUJB) yesterday dismissed the assertion by the German Greens that the Temelin nuclear power plant has construction shortcomings that threaten its safety.

The safety of Temelin, located in southern Bohemia near the Austrian and Bavarian border, has been checked repeatedly and the plant poses no threat, CEZ and the SUJB said.

SUJB chairwoman Dana Drabova described the Greens' criticism of Temelin as a step linked to the forthcoming general elections in Germany.

The assessment was worked out by Dieter Majer, former senior official at the German Environment Ministry. He wrote that the welds linking Temelin's pressure tank and the primary cooling circuit pose a potential safety risk.

There are no guarantees to secure the welds' sufficient quality, Majer wrote.

"This is a long-lasting topic promoted by Greenpeace - the welds connecting the primary pipeline circuit with the reactor vessel. Since 2000, when Greenpeace opened the debate, a lot of expert assessments has been made," CEZ spokesman Ladislav Kriz told CTK.

"The SUJB, the Czech police as well as CEZ have had the welds' quality repeatedly checked. Various methods were applied to analyse all welds. Experts measured their hardness, analysed their chemical composition and their microstructure. All methods confirmed the quality of the welds and the welding technology," Kriz said.

"As a result, Temelin has the best-checked welds in the world," he added.

Drabova said the SUJB's checks show that the welds in Temelin are all right.

"We don't fear [their possible] reassessment as the welds suffer from no defects," Drabova told CTK.

Besides, there is a regular system of operative checks. The welds will be checked again next year and it will turn out that they are absolutely OK like 15 years ago, Drabova added.

The German Greens turned with their assessment to German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and asked him to require further tests from Czechs. Altmaier refused to do so and said he can see no safety or technical reasons for challenging the Czech authorities' approach.

Drabova welcomed Altmaier's reaction. "Minister Altmaier has competent aides who can assess it [Temelin] technologically well," she said.

"Every time elections draw nearer, the Greens in Germany and in Austria intensify their activity concerning Temelin," Drabova said.

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