The European Union (EU) has refused to support Austria's bid to include the ongoing Czech-Austrian Temelin safety monitoring process as a formal protocol to the Czech Republic's EU accession treaty.
The Czech accession document only contains an appended "joint declaration" in which both Austria and the Czech Republic express their intention to abide by the conclusions of the Brussels agreement and the Melk protocol that preceded it.
Under the December 2000 Melk protocol, the Czech Republic promised to involve Austria in certain safety issue reviews, and to conduct an environmental impact assessment with Austrian input. Austria agreed to prevent further border blockades.
A source in Prague said that Czech safety officials are confident that there will be no further negotiations on the safety of the VVER-1000 plant, only a reiteration of the "roadmap" that the two countries agreed on for monitoring Czech resolution of safety issues EU experts considered outstanding.
At the first meeting foreseen by that roadmap, the Czech side presented its plans for resolving the two issues that the EU experts considered to be the most urgent: protecting against pipe whip that could cause rupture of high energy pipelines, and qualification of safety valves. Czech regulators confirmed their intention to approve use of the "French/ British solution" for the pipe whip issue: qualifying the pipelines as "superpipe" segments that are deemed not liable to rupture. It is expected that the safety valve qualification dossier will be completed in the near future.
Meanwhile, for the first time, both units Temelin were operating together in January. Power at unit 1 was increased to 1000MWe on 4 January. Unit 2 was briefly reconnected to the grid on 5 January, after a series of tests, before being taken off line again for technical modifications on a non-nuclear part of the unit. It operated at 55% while connected.