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Nuclear Policies in Central Europe

Environmental Policy and Enlargement of the European Union: Austria’s Policies towards Nuclear Reactors in Neighboring Countries

Michael Getzner

Austria’s anti-nuclear policies are rooted in the successful anti-nuclear referendum on the Zwentendorf nuclear power plant (Lower Austria) in 1978 and the great impact of the Chernobyl catastrophe on Austria in 1986. Since about 1990, official Austria has pursued anti-nuclear policies not only at home but also abroad. In particular, reactors in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) are the focal points of Austria’s foreign anti-nuclear policies. Strategies include increasing nuclear safety, promoting energy efficiency and sustainable energy sources (such as renewable resources), and extending international legal frameworks to account for nuclear safety. Involvement in domestic energy issues in other countries is not an easy task, and while Austrian policy makers have had some success in increasing awareness of nuclear safety in Europe, they have also made a number of strategic mistakes. Notwithstanding real and substantiated concerns regarding nuclear safety, Austrian policies have lost credibility during recent years. This book explores the history and the development of Austrian anti-nuclear policies, and discusses the political economy of such policies. Particular emphasis is laid on the 2002 referendum against the Temelín reactor in the neighboring Czech Republic.
Contents: Domestic nuclear policies in Austria and Europe – Austria’s foreign nuclear policies – The Temelín referendum – Discussion of policy recommendations and perspectives of future policies.