CZECH REPUBLIC Czech environment minister Milos Kuzvart on 2 May supported demands made by civic organisation Coalition Referendum 2000 for a referendum on the Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia. He said that the public “received wrong information” on Temelin many years ago and that the plant would have an “enormous negative impact,” creating unemployment in Bohemia’s brown coal mines.

Kuzvart added that the Czech Republic is already producing more electricity than it needs and that Temelin’s operation would worsen that situation. However, no referendum can take place until a plebiscite law has been approved by parliament, and Kuzvart promised to raise the issue with Pavel Rychetsky, deputy premier in charge of egislation.

Referendum 2000, a coalition of 74 civic initiatives, started the petition in support of holding a referendum on 19 April . It argued that the power station will affect the lives of many people and the decision should not be left to politicians.

A recent opinion poll by the Stem polling agency found that 73% of Czechs would vote in a referendum on Temelin, with 69% supporting the government’s completion of the plant — 8% more than a year ago. STEM says 58% of Czechs can be considered as firm supporters of Temelin’s completion and 22% as opponents. The poll also showed that most Czechs (almost two thirds of the population) support further development of nuclear energy and 67% of the 1681 respondents said they considered Temelin to be safer than Chernobyl.