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Austria to sue over nuclear plants

THE AUSTRIAN government has renewed its opposition to the construction of nuclear power plants in Slovakia and the Czech Republic after the problems experienced at Japanese nuclear plants following the March 11 earthquake there.

THE AUSTRIAN government has renewed its opposition to the construction of nuclear power plants in Slovakia and the Czech Republic after the problems experienced at Japanese nuclear plants following the March 11 earthquake there.

The Austrian cabinet agreed on March 21 to file a lawsuit against both Slovakia and the Czech Republic at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in order to stop the construction of power plants at Mochovce (in Slovakia, 170 kilometres from Vienna) and Temelín (in the Czech Republic, 95 kilometres from Linz), the Sme daily reported. The lawsuits form part of a new action plan which the Austrian government passed 12 days after the disaster in Japan.

“No member state of the EU can ban other member state from using nuclear energy,” Slovak Economy Ministry spokesperson Róbert Merva told Sme, adding that the ministry can provide no further comment on the lawsuit because it had not been formally notified.

However, the daily quoted an Austrian expert on nuclear energy, Radko Pavlovec, who said that Austria could succeed with its complaints if these focus on the fact that the two power plants in question do not have an external shell to prevent radiation leaks. The affected Japanese power plants do not have such a shell.

The Austrian government imposed conditions on Slovakia’s EU accession, requiring it to close two older blocks at the V1 power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice (the second closed more than two years ago). Several lawsuits have also been filed against the Mochovce power plant. The ECJ ruled in 2009 that no country is entitled to require the closure of a nuclear power plant in another country if the power plant in question possesses all the necessary permits.


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