CEZ may ask for review of new nuclear projects -PM
PRAGUE, July 4 |
PRAGUE, July 4 (Reuters) - Czech power firm CEZ CEZPsp.PR may ask the state to launch an environmental assessment study on a potential new nuclear power plant, Prime Minister Miroslav Topolanek said on Friday.
Nuclear energy has returned into fashion in Europe due to soaring energy prices and attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants, blamed for global warming.
The state-controlled CEZ has however frozen its plans for nuclear expansion since the 2006 national election, when a new coalition government agreed not to promote nuclear energy due to opposition from the junior ruling partner, the Green Party.
Senior government representatives including Topolanek, as well as opposition parties, have since advocated nuclear energy but Topolanek has insisted there would be no final decisions on building new nuclear stations.
"I do not consider a study on environmental impact to be a breach of the coalition agreement," Topolanek told reporters at a presentation of future energy trends.
"If CEZ is ready to ask for the EIA (environmental impact assessment) then it should do it," he said.
A study on environmental impacts is a necessary step in order to push a new energy project forward. CEZ said the process takes about two and half years.
A committee of energy experts and academics, sponsored by the government, said on Friday the cabinet should not prevent assessment of any type of power projects.
"We will study the committee's report in detail first and then we will decide how to proceed," CEZ spokeswoman Eva Novakova said. "We expected a more significant support of nuclear energy."
CEZ has nearly completed documentation required for a study on a new plant at its existing plant at Temelin, Novakova said.
CEZ, the top listed firm in central Europe with market capitalisation of $53.6 billion, runs two nuclear power plants but most of its portfolio consists of lignite-burning stations.
In May, CEZ Chief Production Officer Vladimir Hlavinka told Reuters enlargement of the 2,000 megawatt Temelin plant by two reactors of over 1,000 megawatts each would be most efficient, as the site had originally been designed for two extra units.
CEZ, 63 percent state-owned, controls the country's biggest lignite miner, Severoceske Doly.
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