The controversial Temelin nuclear power plant operated by Czech power company CEZ reached 100 per cent output during testing on Friday for the first time, but had to be shut down shortly afterwards due to technical glitches.

The plant, just 60 km from the Austrian border, was restarted on Saturday after the problem with an electrical generator but plant spokesman Milan Nebesar stressed that there was never a threat to nuclear safety. “The plant was restarted and output went to 38 per cent, and the technicians will increase that to 100 per cent,” he said.

The plant is the main asset of state-owned power generator CEZ. Last week the Czech government withdrew plans to sell a majority stake in CEZ into private hands after a protracted tender process. Bids that were received did not meet the cabinet’s expectations but many potential bidders were put off by the inclusion of Temelin in the privatization package.

CEZ maintains that Temelin is a state-of-the art project and has been passed as safe by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The station has two soviet-designed VVER 1000 reactors along with a US control system. A second reactor is under construction at the site.

Austria’s objections to the operation of the plant are a significant obstacle for the Czech Republic to gain accession to the European Union.