VIENNA, Sept. 18, 2000 (APA) — The environmental organization Global 2000 demonstrated at Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday as the IAEA started its General Conference.

Global 2000 activists accused the IAEA of a “lax” attitude to the Czech Republic’s nuclear power station at Temelin which is going operational this month.

“Global” spokesman Heinz Hoegelsberger said that already in 1996 his group had published a list of 84 potential safety deficits of Temelin-type nuclear plants.

But the IAEA experts had never checked whether, and how many, of these deficits had been corrected at Temelin now that its operation was imminent.

“The IAEA has completely failed in the matter of Temelin”, Hoegelsberger charged.

His fellow-protesters pulled paper bags over their heads to demonstrate the alleged inadequacy of IAEA protection against nuclear accidents. Paper bags were handed out to conference delegates.

There has recently been political tension between Vienna and Prague over Temelin which is just 60 kilometers from the northern Austrian border.

Each Friday for the past three weeks, Austrian demonstrators have used tractors to block border crossings to the Czech Republic in protest.

Austrian parliament has threatenened to hold up Czech “energy chapter” EU entry negotiations until Prague shows Temelin is “up to European safety and environmental standards.”

The 44th annual General Conference of the IAEA will deal with nuclear safety in general. Temelin is not on its official agenda but will probably be raised by the Austrian delegation.

The IAEA will also discuss storage of radioactive waste, nuclear arms control, and the use of atomic energy for processing drinking water.

About 100 representatives of the IAEA’s 130 member-states are expected to take part between Monday and Friday, including about 20 government ministers.

Among them are due to be Russian Atomic Energy Minister Evgeni Adamov, US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and Japanese Minister of Technology Tadamori Oshima.

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