January 7, 2014 / 4:41 PM / 4 years ago

Incoming Czech minister backs new nuclear plant units, sees delay

PRAGUE, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The candidate set to become the Czech Republic's next industry minister was quoted on Tuesday as saying he backed a plan to build two new units at the Temelin nuclear power plant but that he favoured some delay.

The plan of majority-state owned Czech electricity producer CEZ to build the units at an estimated cost of over $10 billion has already been clouded by rising safety costs and a drop in wholesale electricity prices, which could spell big losses for nuclear power stations.

The plan has also been hit by appeals by France's Areva , which was excluded from the bidding. Toshiba unit Westinghouse and a consortium including Russia's Atomstroyexport remain in the tender.

"The worst result would be if it is not built and we end up facing some legal battles," Jan Mladek, the incoming centre-left coalition's candidate for industry minister, was quoted by the CTK news agency as saying.

"I would be in favour of delaying the construction. A lot will depend on how the delay is communicated," Mladek said.

CEZ has said the plant should be completed by around 2025. It has already delayed picking a winner of the tender for the supplier from 2013 until possibly 2015.

CEZ has also said it will not go ahead with the plan unless the government devises a scheme that would set a floor for prices from the new plant, planned at over 2,000 megawatts. (Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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