The Czech Republic is dropping plans to build as many as 18 new nuclear reactors and will instead expand its existing capacity, said Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kuba, according to the Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny.

An alternative is to build two new reactors at the Temelin power plant and extend operations of the Dukovany station until 2035, the minister was reported to have told the paper, reports Bloomberg.

Mr. Kuba said “Producing up to 80 per cent of electricity in the Czech Republic from atomic (resources) is not realistic from the economic point of view.”

CEZ, central Europe’s largest company by market value and its biggest utility, aims to build two new units at the 2000 MW plant in Temelin, a village near the Austrian border.

Bidders include Toshiba (TYO6502)Corp unit Westinghouse along with France’s Areva (EuronextCEI) and an alliance of Russia’s Atomstroyexport and Czech company Skoda JS. The government plans to choose the winning bid in 2013.

The paper said the two new Temelin blocks will increase the share of nuclear power to 50 per cent of overall production from about a third now as it will lead to closure of some coal-fired plants.

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