The latest Temelin shutdown

1 March 2002

The Temelin plant was taken offline again - this time for one month - in order to revise the equipment and replace valves in the fittings which caused the reactor to trip on February 7.

The trip was said to be caused by the unnecessary activation of a protection system during a routine test. The Office of Nuclear Safety (SUJB), however, said that the safety shutdown must be treated as serious from the technical point of view because safety mechanisms in the plant's primary circuit were activated. The unit will be restrated for six days of continuous operation, followed by an 18-month trial operation.

Dana Drabova, chairwoman of SUJB, said the fault that caused the February 7 shutdown was a "serious technical problem" that "must not be allowed to repeat itself." She also said that "high financial sanctions" and management changes could be imposed if, after a restart, another emergency shutdown occurs. The SUJB provisionally classified the incident as level one on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

Plant spokesman Milan Nebesar said: "The safety systems performed perfectly. The reason was an unnecessary actuation of the exciter protection during a planned test of (electrical) protections performed in accordance with a procedure developed by the generator's manufacturer."

• The Czech government decided on 20 February to approve a public hearing in Germany on changes to the Temelin project. The Czech Environment Ministry had insisted on holding the public hearing in Germany as it refuses to publish its final assessment of their environmental impact without prior discussion with the Germans. The Industry and Trade Ministry, however, opposed it. A public hearing on the changes was held in the Czech Republic last autumn in the presence of Austrians.

The Czech Republic will allot this year almost Kc9 million ($250,000) to finance talks on the plant. It will consult Austria on Temelin approximately three times a year. At these meetings the Czechs will give Austrians information on the implementation of the agreement on Temelin's safety which was signed by the two countries' leaders in Melk, at the end of 2000.

Unit 2 is still waiting for permission to be granted by SUJB for fuel loading.

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