PRAGUE. INTERFAX CENTRAL EUROPE - Nuclear power is indispensible in the Czech Republic's current energy mix both as a source of low-emissions power and security of supply, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS), who has advocated expanding the country's existing nuclear plants, told an energy conference Tuesday.
Nuclear energy is the "alpha and omega" for further development of the Czech energy sector, Topolanek said, as cited by news agency CTK, adding that energy-saving and low-emission technologies should also get support.
According to the Energy Regulatory Office (ERU) coal-fired plants produced nearly two-thirds of the country's electricity and nuclear power more than one-third, with the contribution of renewable energies such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass to the overall production mix around 4%.
The draft state energy strategy commission by Topolanek's government from an independent panel of experts counts on the share nuclear energy in power production rising to 50% by 2030.
"We consider nuclear energy the best possible solution in terms of economy as well as environment," said Ladislav Kriz, spokesman for state-controlled utility CEZ, which operates the country's Temelin and Duchovany nuclear power plants.
The Czech Republic has one of the lowest energy import dependencies in the EU-27, mainly due it its large contribution of domestically produced solid fuels (hard coal) and nuclear energy to its energy mix, with imports limited to natural gas from Norway and mainly Russia, which also supplies oil.