Clinton Pushing Energy Diversity in Czech Republic

Posted December 3rd, 2012 at 7:55 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she is “not shy” about pushing for an American firm to win a nuclear plant construction contract in the Czech Republic.

U.S. firm Westinghouse and a Russian company are bidding on a $10 billion contract to expand the Temelin nuclear plant. The Czech Republic wants to boost its nuclear capacity to produce about half of the country's electricity, up from about 30 percent today.

Clinton met Monday with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, encouraging the country to diversify its energy sources. The country depends on Russia for the majority of its energy supply.

Clinton said Westinghouse is the best option in terms of technology and safety, and that the project would create jobs both for Czechs and Americans.

A decision is expected next year.

Austria has raised concerns about its neighbor's nuclear push, with the Temelin plant located about 50 kilometers from the Czech-Austrian border.

Clinton began a five-day European trip Monday, which includes talks later in the day in Brussels with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and military chief Ashfaq Kayani.

She will also take part in meetings Tuesday and Wednesday with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

Clinton will close her trip with stops in Ireland and Northern Ireland.