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Czech operator dismisses Austrian criticism of Temelin nuke plant

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Prague/Vienna, July 10 (CTK) – The Czech energy utility CEZ, which operates the Temelin nuclear power plant, south Bohemia, dismissed today Upper Austria’s criticism of its approach to the recent minor leak of radioactivity from the plant and said its information about the accident was prompt and adequate.

Earlier today, Upper Austrian Environment Minister Rudi Anschober said it took CEZ eight days to consider that a radioactivity could have leaked due to a previously uncovered defect on Temelin’s steam generator, the Austrian press agency APA wrote.

The measured radioactivity did not cross the permitted limit, but it was uncovered outside the zones of permitted incidence.

“We must insist on a total transparency. It must not be swept under the carpet by CEZ or the Czech Republic, it is an extremely risky technology,” Anschober is quoted as saying.

He said he wants the case to be dealt with by a group of independent experts.

Anschober said that on June 25, a non-standard situation was uncovered at Temelin’s unit two, which was out of operation at the time, and on the next day it was identified as a leakage between the primary and secondary circuits of the steam generator.

On July 3, Temelin announced that a low radiation had been measured outside the “permitted” zones and said that neither the environment or the staff were endangered.

“The operator’s reaction indicates that no one among the power plant staff considered a possible leak of radioactivity,” Anschober said.

CEZ spokesman Marek Svitak said the nuclear safety authority, the Czech public as well as Austria were informed about the internal leakage on the steam generator and on the very low, below-limit values of radioactivity outside the permitted zones, but still within the power plant complex, immediately after it was uncovered.

With the exception of weekends and holidays, Austria has been informed about Temelin’s current operation every day, Svitak said.

The fact that the outer environment has remained untouched has been proved by a series of tests made in the plant as well as on and behind its border, including an independent European test and a test carried out by the State Radiation Protection Institute, he added.

Austria, which is nuclear-free, has been critical of the nuclear power projects in the neighbouring countries. It is opposed to Prague’s plan to build another two units in each of the Czech nuclear power plants, Temelin and Dukovany (South Moravia), both of which are situated near the Austrian border.


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