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Greenpeace activists suspected of damaging power plant

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Pardubice, East Bohemia, Oct 6 (CTK) – A police investigation of this week’s Greenpeace protest in the coal-fired power plant Chvaletice has begun because the plant’s operators claim that the environmental organisation damaged their property, Pardubice regional police spokeswoman Jana Drtinova told CTK on Thursday.

Eleven Greenpeace activists occupied a cooling tower from Monday to Wednesday in protest against the reconstruction of the boiler houses thanks to which the plant’s operation could be extended until 2030.

Drtinova said the police officers wanted to question the activists, but all of them, five Czech and six foreign citizens, rejected to provide an explanation.

The police are guarding the plant to avoid further trespassing, she said.

The crime scene is yet to be inspected, Drtinova said.

If the activists caused damage of more than five million crowns, they may be punished with up to six years in prison.

As soon as the police end their investigation, the plant’s operator, the Severni energeticka company, will start estimating the damage.

The company said previously that the damage may be several million of crowns or even, if the coating of the tower was damaged, tens of millions.

The activists dismissed the view that they damaged the coating. They said a hand drilling machine can do little harm to the coating.

Chvaletice power plant director Lubos Pavlas told CTK that an inspection of the cooling tower will cost approximately 600,000 crowns.

Greenpeace says the planned upgrading and extension of the plant’s operation until 2030 would further deteriorate the environment. Severni energeticka says emissions of pollutants and dust would decrease thanks to the reconstruction.

Greenpeace also challenged the fact that the building permit for the reconstruction of the boiler houses was issued without an analysis of the environmental impact (EIA).

The protest did not threaten the plant’s operation as two units are out of operation due to the reconstruction and the other two do not operate due to a recent fire of a coal conveyor. The plant, built in 1979, plans to resume its operation by the end of October.

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