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Czech Nuclear Plant Shut Down

PRAGUE (voa) – The Czech Republic’s controversial Temelin nuclear power plant has been shut down because of technical problems just hours after powering up to full capacity.

Spokesmen for the plant said the trouble, stemming from a power generator, was not critical, as technicians are still testing the plant’s operations. It was not clear how long the plant would be shut down.

It was the first time the station was operating at 100 percent after state regulators determined it was ready for full power.

The nuclear plant was first powered up in October 2000, but the commercial launch has been delayed by technical problems and negotiations with neighboring Austria.

Temelin — a Soviet-era design plant — is located only 60 kilometers from the Austrian border and has been strongly opposed by Austria’s environmentalists and political leaders.

Austria voted against nuclear energy in a 1978 referendum.

The Czech government insists Temelin is safe. It says updated security features and Western safety controls have been installed at the plant.

The plant’s spokesman said additional tests will be made before the plant becomes commercially operable next year.

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