Nuclear Safety:

U.S. Assistance to Upgrade Soviet-Designed Nuclear Reactors in the Czech Republic

RCED-95-157: Published: Jun 28, 1995. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1995.

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GAO provided information on: (1) the reasons the Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) guaranteed a loan for the Temelin nuclear power plant in the Czech Federal Republic; (2) actions Eximbank took to ensure the project's soundness and safety; and (3) issues involving the U.S. government's potential liability as a result of the loan guarantee.

GAO found that: (1) U.S. government officials believe that Western technology can make the Soviet-designed Temelin reactors safer, provide more than $330 million in U.S. export earnings, and contribute to international economic goals; (2) U.S. experts concluded that the least safe Soviet-designed reactors should be shut down as soon as possible and that other reactors should be upgraded to acceptable safety standards; (3) Eximbank evaluated the project's technical and commercial feasibility, capital cost and schedule estimates for the project, and the project's environmental effects; (4) the National Security Council confirmed for Eximbank that the Czech nuclear regulatory body met applicable criteria for regulatory competence; and (5) Eximbank concluded that there was only a remote chance that it would be held liable for damages in the event of a nuclear accident at Temelin.

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