U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in the Czech Republic Dec. 3, where she is lobbying President Vaclav Klaus on behalf of Westinghouse in the U.S. company’s bid to build two new reactors at the Temelin nuclear plant.
The Russian energy giant Atomstroyexport is reportedly leading in its bid for the contract, while the U.S. complains that the company is engaging in bribery, the Associated Press reports. Clinton is said to be encouraging the Czech Republic to diversify its energy mix away from dependence on the Russian Federation, which today supplies 60 percent of the country’s oil, 70 percent of its natural gas, and all of its nuclear reactor fuel, according to U.S. officials. The contract could create 9,000 new jobs in the United States, say U.S. officials. Formal negotiations between Westinghouse, Atomstroyexport and the Czech government are expected to start in December with a final decision coming in the spring.
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