On her international travels, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed the American firm Westinghouse to Czech leaders, who are looking to develop two new nuclear reactors for an estimated $10 billion.
CEZ, the Czech Republic’s majority state-owned firm, has filed applications to build the reactors at Temelin’s 2,000 MW nuclear plant.
The Temelin project would allowing the Czech Republic to advance its energy independence from Russia, while also leading to the creation of some 9,000 U.S. jobs, U.S. officials said.
Russian company Atomstroyexport is bidding against Westinghouse for the project.
“We are not shy about pressing the case for Westinghouse to expand the Temelin nuclear power plant, because we believe that company offers the best option for the project in terms of technology and safety,” Clinton said in a news conference after meeting with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.
CEZ has a market capitalization of $17.8 billion. It is the biggest energy group in central Europe, and it hopes to sign a contract on the Temelin nuclear project by the end of next year.
Before that, however, it needs to respond to an appeal from French company Areva (EPA: AREVA), whose bid CEZ had earlier rejected on the grounds that it did not meet “crucial requirements.”
The U.S. pitch is highlighting Westinghouse’s record for safety and proposing the prospect of increased energy independence to Czech officials.
According to Reuters, the Czech Republic obtains 60 percent of its oil, 70 percent of gas, and 100 percent of nuclear fuel from Russia.