Czech nuclear reactor shut down for reparation

The troubled nuclear power plant in Temelin near the border with Austria has shut down one of its reactors for repairs of a faulty water pump, an official said Monday. Plant spokesman Milan Nebesar said workers detected the malfunction late Friday, only a day after the unit received final approval to operate from local authorities. He said workers shut down the reactor early Saturday. It was not immediately clear when it would be reopened. "There's no danger to the public, it's just a minor operational malfunction," Nebesar said. The incident forced plant officials to postpone a planned shutdown of the second reactor, which needs replacement of the rotating part of the turbogenerator, Nebesar said. Construction of the plant's two 1,000-megawatt reactors, based on Russian designs, started in the 1980s. The reactors were later upgraded with U.S. technology, but they have remained controversial because of frequent malfunctions. There were several dozen malfunctions during the plant's five-year trial run.

Environmentalists in Austria have demanded that the plant, 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of the Austrian border, be closed, reports the AP. I.L.

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