Prague, Aug 9 (CTK) – The United States Department of Energy is going to move its European region office to Prague from Sofia, Bulgaria, and the information published on the server HlidaciPes.org today has been confirmed to CTK by the US Embassy in Prague.
The server wrote that the decision was influenced by company Westinghouse’s interest in building new nuclear blocks in the Czech Republic and the growing influence in Central Europe of Russia and China.
The Department of Energy has launched the office’s relocation to the Czech Republic, the embassy told the server.
The European region office works to promote energy security, non-proliferation, scientific cooperation, and American commercial interests in the region, the embassy said.
After moving to Prague this autumn the office will focus on the Czech Republic and about 20 other European countries, the server said.
The Department of Energy cooperated with authorities in the Czech Republic and other European countries on many of the issues it was dealing with in the Sofia office, and is looking forward to further development of these ties from its new office in Prague, the US Embassy told CTK today.
It is fresh news and the Industry and Trade Ministry lacks detailed information about the office’s relocation at the moment, said Frantisek Kotrba, the ministry’s spokesman.
“We’ve been in touch with the US side and once the regional office is relocated to the Czech Republic, we are ready to discuss relevant topics and possibilities aimed at promoting mutual cooperation in energy sector,” said Kotrba.
Unclear funding of a new nuclear unit in the Czech Republic has long been an obstacle to making a decision on its construction. Prime Minister Andrej Babis told Reuters agency recently that he wants the decision on financing a new unit at Dukovany nuclear power plant, which is owned by CEZ energy group, to be made by the end of the year.
CEZ wants the state to provide some aid for its investments in new energy sources. Minority shareholders fear that if CEZ financed the construction of a new unit they would be hurt by a drop in the value of CEZ shares. CEZ therefore proposed its transformation within which its nuclear and conventional sources would be separated from distribution and new energy activities (ESCO). Coal and nuclear sources would remain in the state’s hands.
CEZ, 70 percent owned by the state, operates two nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic, Dukovany in southern Moravia and Temelin in the south of Bohemia.
According to Babis, CEZ is big enough to be able to build new nuclear reactors without any transformation.
According to earlier information, six companies have expressed interest in building a nuclear unit in the country, namely Russia’s Rosatom, EDF of France, South Korea’s KHNP, China General Nuclear Power, joint venture of Areva and Mitsubishi Atmea, and USA’s Westinghouse.
“(Westinghouse) went bust last year, and Canadian fund Brookfield Business Partners bought the US nuclear division from Japan’s Toshiba in March this year,” the server wrote.