E.ON carries out CEZ contract killing

29 June 2001

E.ON has cancelled its contract with Czech utility CEZ for electricity from Temelin. Although the German utility declined to give a reason, it is likely that the decision was made in response to threats by the Bavarian federal government to terminate E.ON’s electricity supply to the region, and mounting pressure from various political and environmental groups. CEZ will probably find other buyers for the electricity, which amounts to approximately one quarter of its total exports.

E.ON’s announcement is just one in a long list of setbacks for Temelin. Every glitch, such as the recent leakage of several litres of radioactive water from the reactor, fuels further protests.

Less than a week after a Czech government report concluded that mothballing Temelin would be financially ruinous for CEZ, and also require the country to rely on imported electricity, Germany’s minister for the environment, Jürgen Trittin, withdrew the two German observers on the international commission investigating the environmental impact of Temelin. Trittin was protesting against the Czech government’s announcement that the environmental impact assessment commission had concluded that Temelin would not harm the environment, and that the German experts in the commission had concurred with this. Trittin said that Germany could not be held responsible for “conclusions that don’t yet exist and that we don’t share.” He also repeated his call for the Czech government to mothball the plant.

Meanwhile, CEZ has announced that it expects to complete the majority of its privatisation by the end of the year. The company is looking for a strategic partner to develop the company’s production base.

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