Temelin troubles Trittin

15 August 2001

The "technical document" from Germany's federal environment ministry (BMU), headed by Jürgen Trittin, was handed to Czech officials by Germany's embassy in Prague on the same day as the Czech government commission completed an environmental impact assessment on Temelin.

The news affected the stock market, with shares in Czech power utility CEZ plummetting more than 20%.

The German government later tried to play down the report in another statement issued later that day. This did not contain an explicit demand for closure, but said that the German government felt obliged to express the concerns of its citizens. It called for talks with the Czech government and stressed that the issue was in no way connected with the question of the application for EU membership by the Czech Republic. However, a spokesman for the German government confirmed: "The official position of the government is that Temelin is not safe and we recommend that it is closed." Prime minister Milos Zeman said his cabinet will not issue a reaction to the German appeal. He pointed out that it originated from Germany's environment ministry and claimed it had not been approved by Chancellor Schröder's cabinet.

Temelin plant director Frantisek Hezoucky has responded by writing an open letter to Mr Trittin, inviting him to visit the plant.

Trittin later said that Germany required an answer from the government of the Czech Republic, and he will not be responding to Mr Hezoucky's letter.

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