Nuclear safety a ‘key question’ for EU candidates

VIENNA, Sept. 19, 2000 (APA) à‚– Austria is giving particular importance to nuclear safety in current negotiations with EU candidates, Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner told the IAEA General Conference on Tuesday.

The safety of nuclear power stations in EU candidates was “a key question”, said the conservative People’s Party minister.

Austria considered it necessary that safety standards be raised to the level of those in the existing EU states.

She gave an admonition to countries with “nuclear activities” that they had “a special responsibility” not only towards their own populations but also their neighbours.

According to the text of her speech, Ferrero-Waldner did not specifically name the nuclear power stations at Temelin in the Czech Republic and Krsko in Slovenia.

Austrian politicians and anti-nuclear activists have been campaigning fiercely against both for their alleged lack of safety standards.

Recently the Austrian parliament called on the government in Vienna to block Czech “energy chapter” EU membership negotiations until Prague could show that Temelin was up to EU environment and safety standards.

In her speech, Ferrero-Waldner said that Austria à‚– which does not use atomic energy itself – felt that this form of energy was “not compatible” with the concept of lasting development.

It was also not a usable option in the fight against the global “greenhouse” effect, said the foreign minister.

The 44th annual General Conference of the Vienna-based IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency – is dealing with nuclear safety in general.

The IAEA is also discussing 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 this 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.

à‚© Copyright 2000 Austria Presse Agentur Ben.m.b.H (APA). All Rights Reserved.

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