A senior executive of the Czech power company CEZ has suggested that delays and rising costs are threatening the future of the Temelin nuclear power plant being built in the southern part of the Czech Republic, Reuters reports. However the government has said that it is fully committed to completing the power plant despite these problems.

The uncertainty about the future of the project arose when the CEZ Temelin construction director Vojtech Kotyza said in a company magazine that the company was as close as it had ever been to interrupting the construction project. He claimed that the first unit of the two unit plant had to be on-line by 2000, with scope for only a limited increase in costs, for the project to remain profitable.

The Russian-designed power station was originally scheduled to enter service in 1995 after being upgraded with Western technology. The project comprises two 1000 MW VVER reactors with a control system supplied by the US company Westinghouse. The project has run into numerous delays. A study by the Belgian company Tractebel suggested the constraints on profitability repeated by Kotyza.

However the Czech industry and trade minister said that the option for not completing Temelin does not exist. Given the investment so far made, completion is the best option, the government believes.