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Austrians slam reported Czech nuclear plans
by Staff Writers
Vienna (AFP) Sept 17, 2011

Austrian politicians reacted angrily to reported plans by the Czech Republic to vastly increase its nuclear energy to account for 80 percent of its electricity production.

Austria, which abandoned nuclear power more than 30 years ago, is extremely sensitive to its neighbours' atomic ambitions, particularly as regards the Czechs, who have a nuclear plant of questionable safety just across the border.

According to the Czech press, quoting a report from the industry ministry, Prague wants to multiply its nuclear capacity almost five-fold by 2060, involving the building of between 10 and 15 new power stations.

Austrian parties across the political spectrum from the Greens to the far right have slammed the moves, with Christian Democrat Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger calling on Prague to rethink.

Vienna "will use every political and legal means to counter the Czech nuclear plans," he warned.

Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich, another Christian Democrat, said that "six months after the terrible Fukushima disaster in Japan, our neighbours have learned no lessons."

"The motto must be 'get out of nuclear and work towards renewable energies'," he added.

Environmental movement Greenpeace has accused the Czech nuclear industry of being behind the move in order to export its production of electricity.

Austria claims that the Czech nuclear plant at Temelin, just over the border, has serious safety deficiencies, and is nervous about plans to build two more reactors at the site by 2025.

Surrounded by neighbours keen on atomic energy, anti-nuclear Austria has been campaigning for a complete withdrawal from nuclear power in Europe, with activists repeatedly urging the closure of plants in Slovenia and Slovakia as well as the Czech Republic.

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