Slovak nuclear plant comes under fire again

Austria reiterates closure demands, threatens delays in Slovakian accession to the EU

The Austrian government has stressed once again that Slovakia's hopes of joining the EU will suffer unless it closes two Soviet-designed nuclear reactors at its Jaslovské Bohunice plant. The statement, made by Barbara Prammer, the Austrian minister in charge of coordinating anti-nuclear policy, follows publication by the Slovak authorities of a planning concept that would mean closing the two so-called "V1" reactors no earlier than "2005 or 2008". In a letter to the Slovak authorities announced on Monday, Ms Prammer demanded that Slovakia publish a definite plan to close the V1 reactors by the time of December's EU heads of state summit in Helsinki. She also offered Austrian assistance and expertise to help build alternative energy schemes in Slovakia based on biomass and wind energy. Slovakian energy utility Slovenské Elektrárne has just finalised a modernisation programme of the V1 reactors at a cost of euros 161m (AS2.2bn).

Follow Up:
Austrian consumer affairs ministry, tel: +43 1 711 720.

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