- The Czech Republic is planning to build a new multi-billion-euro nuclear unit at the southern Dukovany plant by 2036.
- France is the leader... of the initiative for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 to zero.
- Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek said new nuclear units were indispensable because of decarbonisation.
PRAGUE: The Czech Republic is planning to build a new multi-billion-euro nuclear unit at the southern Dukovany plant by 2036, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Wednesday.
He added that the supplier was due to be picked by the end of 2022 with construction beginning in 2029.
"Energy security is a priority for us. It's all linked to what's happening in Europe -- climate change and emissions," Babis told reporters.
He singled out France as a model nation where nuclear power makes up 75 percent of the power mix, against 30 percent in the Czech Republic.
"France is the leader... of the initiative for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 to zero, and I understand why," Babis said.
"Nuclear power is clean, it has no emissions," he said, adding that the Czech Republic was seeking a 40-percent share of nuclear energy by 2040.
The state-owned CEZ group runs two nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic: Dukovany and Temelin, both in the south of the country.
Last year, the two plants turned out almost 30 terawatt-hours of power, up from 28.3 terawatt-hours in 2017, making up half of CEZ's output.
Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek said new nuclear units were indispensable because of decarbonisation, which will transform the Czech Republic from a net power exporter to a break-even country as it closes its coal-fired plants.
"The energy clock is ticking for us. There's no time to lose, we have to build new resources," he said, highlighting the importance of renewable resources.
"We have pledged a 22-percent share of renewable resources by 2030. At present we have 14.5 percent" added Havlicek.
"Our ambition is an emission-free energy sector. We should achieve 80 percent of that by 2050."
Daniel Benes, chief executive and chairman of CEZ, said he expected five bids for the new unit which will cost an estimated 140-160 billion koruna (5.5-6.2 billion euros, $6-6.9 billion).
Czech media have said Russia's Rosatom, France's EDF, South Korea's KHNP, Chinese China General Nuclear Power, the US-based Westinghouse and a joint venture of Areva and Mitsubishi Atmea might place bids for the unit.