Czech Nuclear reactor shuts down

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Nuclear reactor shuts down PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) A nuclear reactor shut down Saturday after the plant's safety system kicked in during a test, officials said.

Pavel Pittermann, spokesman of the state Nuclear Safety Institute, said a malfunction signal somehow went off and engaged the safety system during a cooling test at the Temelin plant. He said the system shut down the fission reaction, which produces nuclear energy.

Pittermann said the problem was minor, ''something like a software error.'' The plant has been a source of tension between the Czech Republic and Austria, one of Europe's most vehement opponents of nuclear energy. The Austrian government and activists there question the safety of the plant, of Soviet design and upgraded with Western technology.

Over the past week, the heads of the Austrian and the Czech governments have sought to defuse the dispute, which has resulted in blockades at border points of the two neighboring countries by Austrian and other European activists.

Pittermann said testing would resume at the plant as soon as the incident was investigated.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/nwssat05.htm

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), November 18, 2000


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