The coal mining company OKD which was hit by a cyber-attack on Monday is
renewing operations in all its mines on Friday after the installation of an
independent internal computer network.
Coal mining was suspended in the wake of the attack for security reasons, despite the fact that methane detectors remained fully operational.
The OKD company’s computer network was hit just two weeks after a similar attack paralysed a hospital in the central Bohemian town of Benešov.
A commemorative ceremony took place in Stonava in the north-east of the
Czech Republic on Friday to honour the thirteen miners who died after a
methane explosion at the ČSM hard coal mine exactly a year ago. Twelve of
the dead were Polish nationals.
Among those attending the event were Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Polish ambassador to the Czech Republic Barbara Ćwioro, representatives of the OKD company, which operates the mine, and relatives of the victims.
The blast, which occurred about 880 metres below the ground, devastated some of the underground areas with poor visibility, obstructing the efforts of the rescue units.
After nearly 130 years in service, the coal mine in Lazy located in the
Moravian-Silesian Region was closed on Thursday. Its current owner OKD,
told the Czech News Agency that further mining would require billions of
crowns in investment and was no longer economically viable for the company.
Some 100 miners will remain on location to work on refilling, others have been moved to some of the recently re-nationalised company’s four other mines in the region.
The once picturesque village of Libkovice lay nestled in a small valley not far from the hilltop where legend has it the primal Father Čech decided his people would settle in Bohemian. Founded nearly a millennium ago, Libkovice was the last town slated for liquidation after 1989 to make way for coal mining operations. Its residents, together with environmental activists faced off against freshly minted capitalists in an ultimately futile battle to save the village, which lay above a rich seam of coal. But the sad story has one silver lining: the
Working groups of the so-called Coal Commission expect to draft plans to
end coal mining in the Czech Republic sometime after 2030 onwards in order
to reduce C02 emissions. The scenarios should be ready in January.
The Czech Republic is the fifth-biggest polluter in Europe and the 20th in the world in terms of CO2 emissions, and the key reason is the share of coal-fired power plants in the country’s energy mix.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has said new nuclear power units must be built, even if in breach of European law, to offset the loss of electricity generated by coal.
The Coal Commission advisory board is co-chaired by the ministers of environment and industry, and includes experts appointed by relevant stakeholders, including industry, labour unions, NGOs and communities in coal-producing regions. Some members expect the coal-exit to take place in 2040 at the earliest.
A dozen environmental activists stormed the corporate headquarters of
northern Bohemian coal producer Severní energetická on Monday.
Before being arrested, the activists hung a banner on the building’s facade calling for an end to all coal mining operations in the area.
Severní energetická has been the target of several protests in recent years. Environmentalists object to its open pit mining and operation of the Chvaletice coal-fired power plant.
A group of eight environmental activists who forced their way into the
Vršany brown coal mine early on Tuesday to protest against continued
mining in the region remain on the grounds of the mine for a second day
The protest is an effort to prevent the planned sale of the coal-burning Počerady electric power plant to the group Se.ven Energy belonging to Czech billionaire Pavel Tykač. Police are monitoring the situation but have not so far intervened.
Academics and former politicians have also been petitioning the power utility ČEZ against the sale on the grounds that the plant’s continued operation would be in violation of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement.
The newly established Coal Commission will meet for the first time on
Monday to discuss coal’s future role in the Czech Republic’s energy mix
and address how to manage its reduced production and use.
Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) announced the creation of the Coal Commission this March. The 19-member advisory board is co-chaired by Brabec and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (ANO). It also includes experts appointed by relevant stakeholders, including industry, labour unions, NGOs and local communities.
Brabec said the main goal is to conduct a structured national debate on the transition from fossil fuels towards renewables and nuclear against the backdrop of combatting climate change.
The Czech Republic is the fifth-biggest polluter in Europe and the 20th in the world in terms of CO2 emissions and the key reason is coal-fired power plants.
Last year, brown coal-fired power plants produced the most electricity in the national energy mix (43 percent), followed by nuclear power plants (a third) and renewable sources (11 percent).
Two foreign nationals, Czech and Iranian divers, have been found dead in an
underwater cave off the island of Karpathos, in southeast Greece, local
authorities reported. The two men, aged 60 and 35, had dived to a depth of
45 meters inside the cave on Saturday.
A third diver who went inside the cave turned back due to a lack of air and broke surface, without finding his companions. He then alerted the authorities.
It is believed the two divers lost their way in the cave which has strong undercurrents and very low visibility. Divers from the Greek coast guard's Underwater Missions Team retrieved the bodies on Sunday afternoon.
Activists from the Extinction Rebellion environmental group briefly blocked
the entrance to the Ministry for Regional Development on Prague’s Old
Town Square shortly before noon on Friday demanding that the government
reduce emissions from fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
The Ministry for Regional Development is represented in a government commission which will debate the gradual phasing out of coal mining and the country’s future energy mix. The activists argued that such a decision should be the result of a broad debate and consensus in society.