China ready to boost Czech nuclear power development

PRAGUE - China is ready to help the Czech Republic to develop its nuclear industry and expand its power stations, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying in a newspaper on Wednesday.

The Czech Republic is working on a long-term energy strategy that is expected to count heavily on nuclear power even after the official cancellation of the planned expansion of a nuclear power plant in the south of the country.

While Li was on a visit to Serbia this week, China said it would create a new investment fund of US$3 billion (S$3.9 billion) targeting central and eastern Europe.

"China is ready to cooperate with the Czech Republic on further development of nuclear energy, including nuclear safety technology and development of new electricity units," Czech daily Pravo quoted Li as saying, in an interview also conducted with other European newspapers.

Czech Industry Minister Jan Mladek said in October that China had shown interest in building nuclear reactors in the Czech Republic, which is looking to expand its two nuclear power plants owned by majority state owned utility CEZ.

The company had scrapped a tender to build two new blocks at the Temelin plant in April.

A company from China could join the participants in the original tender - which included France's Areva, a consortium including Russia's Atomstroyexport and Toshiba US unit Westinghouse - Mladek had said.

Korea's KEPCO has also shown interest in a potential new tender.