Czechs approve energy strategy that boosts nuclear reliance

PRAGUE Thu Nov 8, 2012 11:33am EST

PRAGUE Nov 8 (Reuters) - The Czech government adopted a long-term energy strategy on Thursday that sees the central European nation looking to nuclear power for half its electricity within the next 30 years.

The policy plan assumes the Czech Republic, which currently produces about 30 percent of its electricity through atomic energy, builds two new reactors at Temelin and another at Dukovany. The current four operating units at Dukovany would get a 60-year life extension under the plan.

"We want to produce 80 percent of electric energy from domestic sources," Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas told a news conference.

"We assume at least 50 percent share of nuclear energy in the mix with the share of coal energy gradually decreasing."

Energy security is a key issue for the former Soviet-bloc nation that relies on Russia for most of its gas and oil supplies.

The Czech nuclear energy push has ran into opposition in neighbours Austria and Germany, but is the cornerstone of a government drive to secure its energy future.

Government officials said the rise of atomic energy would push the proportion of coal-fired power production down lower. The plan also seeks increasing gas-fired power generation and dramatically reducing support for renewable projects by 2014. (Reporting by Michael Kahn; editing by James Jukwey)

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