Czech minister can hardly imagine Russians building Temelin plant


03.03.2014 18:26

Komarov - Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky "can hardly imagine" Russian firms building two new units in the Czech nuclear power plant Temelin, he said today in reaction to the Russian military intervention in the Crimea, which is part of Ukraine.


Jaderná elektrárna Temelín. ČTK Štěrba Martin, Fotobanka ČTK

Russia has left the group of predictable democratic countries, Stropnicky said. The intervention is unacceptable and Russia has flagrantly violated international law, he added.

Minister for Legislation and Human Rights Jiri Dienstbier said he shares Stropnicky´s view.

"A country that uses military aggression in foreign policy is a security risk for the Czech Republic," Dienstbier told news server.

He said this was his personal opinion.

"The position of the Czech government is that Russia should return to diplomacy and avoid military aggression towards Ukraine," Dienstbier said.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in reaction to Stropnicky and Dienstbier that the Czech Republic cannot halt its trade relations with Russia over the Ukrainian events and that the government cannot easily interfere in the ongoing tender for Temelin´s completion.

The unrest in Ukraine erupted after the country refused to sign the association agreements with the EU last October. The anti-government protests lasted many weeks and escalated last month when dozens of people were killed. The Ukrainian parliament toppled President Viktor Yanukovych and a new government and president were named.

Ethnic Russians account for about 58 percent of the population of Crimea. The Russian-speaking population wants to secede from Ukraine and to have the peninsula incorporated into Russia.

The situation in Ukraine came to a head after the upper house of the Russian parliament unanimously approved the deployment of armed forces in Ukraine at the request of President Vladimir Putin on Saturday. The West has warned against the military intervention.

Temelin, situated near the Austrian border, has two units and the planned extra two units would more than double its output. Under the original schedule, the winner of the tender, worth hundreds of billions of crowns, was to be known last autumn. But Temelin´s operator CEZ said previously the decision on the building of new units would be made in late 2014 or in 2015.

Czech President Milos Zeman repeated today that he favours a new tender.

The two present bidders are the U.S.-Japanese company Westinghouse and the Czech-Russian consortium MIR.1200. The French company Areva was eliminated from the tender, but it has complained about its elimination.

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