PRAGUE, Oct. 11, 2000, (Prague Business Journal)—The Temelín nuclear power plant was expected to start Wednesday as protesters stepped up their determination to prevent the plant’s commercial launch.

The controversial plant’s first fission reaction was scheduled to start Wednesday morning around 5 a.m., some eight hours later than scheduled. The State Nuclear Safety Authority says that the delay was caused only by the extreme precautions taken by nuclear power plant staff.

Temelín opponents say they intend to prevent its commercial launch next spring and will block seven Czech-Austrian border crossings today from 3-10 p.m. and continue until the leaders of both nations meet. If the blockades are not ended soon, Foreign Minister Jan Kavan says the CR would file a complaint with the EU.

Meanwhile, two polls indicated that 68% and 59% of Czechs (respectively) support the launch of Temelín, while only 32% and 16% oppose it. Power utility CEZ says 31% of its electricity output will be nuclear generated by 2003, up from 17% currently.

Separately, analysts predict no fall in the cost of power due to Temelín, saying that only price deregulation and the opening of the market to competition might bring about a drop in prices (Pravo 1, Lidove Noviny 2, Hospodarske Noviny 1, Mlada Fronta 2, CTK).