Czech PM offers Germany public debate over nuke plant

Czech PM Petr Nečas has made an offer to Germany to hold a public debate on expanding the Temelín nuclear plant

Plans are to at least double the size of the Temelín complex with the current two reactors increased to four | na serveru Lidovky.cz | aktuální zprávy Plans are to at least double the size of the Temelín complex with the current two reactors increased to four | foto: © ILUSTRAČeská pozice
Plans are to at least double the size of the Temelín complex with the current two reactors increased to four

Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas (Civic Democrat, ODS) has offered Germany a public debate over plans by Czech state-controlled power company ČEZ to go ahead and build two new nuclear reactors at its existing Temelín plant in the south of the country, public radio Český rozhlas reported on Wednesday.

Nečas’ offer was made in a letter delivered to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, according to the broadcaster. The offer includes a promise to deal with key issues and hold a public discussion on German soil with Czech nuclear experts in attendance to answer questions, it added.

Germany earlier this year announced plans to phase out of its nuclear plants by 2022 in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima reactor in Japan. Czech politicians, including Nečas, have previously complained about German and Austrian pressure for the Czech Republic to rethink its nuclear expansion plans with the underlying message being that both Berlin and Vienna should mind their own business.

The offer includes a promise to deal with key issues and hold a public discussion on German soil with Czech nuclear experts on hand to answer questions.

Choices about what type of power production to pursue are still matters for national governments although some inroads into such sovereignty have been made by, for example, by EU renewable energy targets and the current EU-directed overview of nuclear power plant safety.

Nečas’ underlined such legal points in his letter, Český rozhlas said, but also said that he does not want the Temelín issue to spoil excellent relations between Prague and Berlin. His offer also includes a pledge to keep Germany informed step by step about plans for Temelín.

A similar pledge and a framework for informing Austrian authorities was found during the construction of the  first two nuclear reactors at Temelín, which lies around 30 kilometers from the Czech-Austrian frontier.

Nečas’ Temelín offer is likely to be discussed during an official visit by the minister president of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, on Wednesday evening. Bavaria also has a lukewarm stance towards  Temelín’s expansion.

ČEZ has set a July 2, 2012,  deadline for offers from the three groups bidding to build the Temelín reactors with a choice of the winner to be made by the end of 2013.