Austrian Parliament Opposes Czech Nuclear Reactors

The plan has met with strong opposition from the towns located in Northern Austria, near the Czech border. Photo credit: Freepik.

Vienna, Dec 16 (CTK) – The Austrian National Council yesterday unanimously passed a resolution rejecting the Czech Republic’s plans for the construction of small modular reactors (SMRs), announced Martin Litschauer, the anti-nuclear spokesman for the Austrian Green Party, quoted by the APA news agency.

Austrian political parties are mostly opposed to the use of nuclear power, and the issue has long been contentious between the two countries.

The Czech state-controlled CEZ energy firm plans to carry out a pilot project of installing a small modular reactor near the Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia, due for completion between 2032 and 2035.

The plan has met with strong opposition from the towns located in Northern Austria, near the Czech border.

Supporters claim that SMRs are safer as the reactors are smaller than the classic ones. However, opponents say that the safety is not directly proportional to the size of the reactor.

Litschauer said yesterday that the small power plants produce more nuclear waste per kWh. Furthermore, the problem of storing burnt nuclear fuel has not been resolved in the Czech Republic, despite promises made in 2000 in relation to the Temelin plant, he noted.

He also said that due to the larger number of reactors in SMRs, the chance of an accident was higher, and the electricity from the two small power plants would be even more expensive, diverting money that could be spent on the green transition.

What is even more problematic, according to Litschauer, is that the projects will not produce any electricity before 2035, and thus will not contribute to the protection of the climate.

The Czech government says the project will strengthen the security and independence of the Czech energy industry, currently under threat due to the war in Ukraine.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) defines a small modular reactor as a power plant that produces electricity of up to 300 MW per module. The agency says that 50 countries are currently working on such reactors, which are more flexible and safer in energy production.

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