Oana LungescuNuclear protesters block border
Saturday, 2 September, 2000
Some 3,000 environmentalists blocked three border crossings on the Austrian frontier with the Czech Republic in a six-hour protest about a Czech nuclear power plant.
The controversial Temelin reactor lies in southern Bohemia, about 50km from the Austrian and German borders and both countries have expressed concern over the safety of the Soviet-designed VVER-1000 station.
There have also been protests in the Czech Republic itself, but the Prague authorities say the plant - which has been modified and fitted with Western control systems - meets international safety standards.
The blockade, joined by 110 tractors, was staged at the Wullowitz, Guglwald and Weigetschlag crossing points.
Czech Radio-Radiozurnal also reported that the border crossing in Dolni Dvoriste was blocked.
On the Czech side, by The speaker of the Czech parliament, former prime minister Vaclav Klaus, condemned the protest as "unilateral and reductionist"
The protesters handed out leaflets that said their blockade "does not aim to harm Czech people but is intended to show their anger over irresponsible nuclear policies advocated by the Czech Government", the report added.
Austria, which is nuclear-free, has threatened to block the Czech Republic's admission to the European Union if it puts the controversial power plant into operation this year.
The Czech Government has dismissed the concerns and plans to activate the fuel in the Temelin reactors by mid-September.
It points out that the plant has been built with the backing of the Anglo-American Westinghouse Electric Company.
The protest was designed to coincide with the final weekend of the Czech school holidays, and to disrupt the return journeys of Czech holiday-makers, particularly from Italy and other parts of southern Europe through Austria.