Czech Ministry agrees on two new reactor blocks in Temelín

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The Czech Environmental Ministry has given its OK to the planned building of two new nuclear blocks at the already existing location of Temelín NPP. Thousands of comments by Czech and foreign NGOs and citizens were put aside, basic questions of a formally incorrect EIA-process have not been answered, like: which reactor types will be used (AP1000 from Westinghouse, EPR from Areva or MIR.1200 from Rosatom), what to do with the nuclear waste and who will be paying for the dismanteling and secondary investments like new roads and the necessary grid improvements.

Besides that it is quite uncommon, that a leading person from the side of the investor (mainly state owned company ČEZ), Mr. Ivo Hlaváč, is changing his job to become vice ministry exactly for the period, when the investment project of his former company is being scrutinized by the Environment Ministry, his new employer. In the meanwhile he has returned back to his former company ČEZ. Czech NGOs like Calla and Jihočeské matky (Southern Bohemian mothers) now try to use legal means in order to bring this badly prepared project to an end.

The Czech Ministry for the Environment published the findings of the EIA-process concerning the planned two new reactor-blocks in the complex of the already existing NPP in Temelín and gave its go-ahead. The whole process started in 2008 and especially during the last years has been accompanied by various factical mistakes and obvious attempts to do the investor (mainly state-owned company ČEZ a favour. The ministry even ignored its own demands concerning the content of an evaluation from the year 2009. So for example were there no findings about possible impacts of the different reactor types under consideration (AP1000 from Westinghouse, EPR from Areva or MIR.1200 from Rosatom), only theoretical parameters were being used. There was no scrutiny of the technical ability of the planned facilities to resist various possible dangers from outside (crash of large airplanes, terroristic attacks and so on). The evaluation of the effects of the future dismanteling of the NPP is missing, as is an analysis and plan for the question, what to do with the used nuclear fuel in future. Also the question of necessary secondary investments like the necessary improvement of the distribution-network with cables or the building of new roads to manage the expected additional traffic during the building period has not been solved and so on.

The Ministery would usually in such a case send the documents back to the investor (ČEZ) to complete them. That did not happen in this case, possibly also because of the fact, that the responsible person in the Ministery in the function of Vice-Minister, Mr. Ivo Hlaváč, had originally been working for ČEZ, where he is now again active - just having had a closer eye at the whole process from the second side, in order to better lobby for the company interests.

The Czech NGOs Calla, Jihočeské matky and others were officially participating in the EIA-process and expressed themselves critically concerning certain points, because of which the whole administrative procedure should in fact end with a rejection of the project from the side of the Ministry. That means, that this less than perfect work of the Environment Ministery offers a good chance, that the final decision could successfully be attacked in a court process, if becoming effective in the form, as it seems to be planned at this stage.

Edvard Sequens, Calla