Czech Republic is likely to hand over the responsibility of expansion of its nuclear power plants to a subsidiary of state-controlled utility CEZ.

Industry minister Jan Mladek was quoted by Reuters as saying that this could be the model as it would enable the project supplier to also share any risk.

CEZ is 70% owned by the state. In April 2014, the firm cancelled a tender to expand its Temelin nuclear power plant, which is valued at more than $10bn, due to low wholesale power prices.

Further, the government had refused to offer price guarantees.

This tender saw the participation of Toshiba’s Westinghouse unit, Russia’s Atomstroyexport, and France’s Areva.

However, Areva was later disqualified for not meeting certain requirements.

"A new tender could see participation of companies from South Korea and China."

These three firms expressed interest in a new tender, which could see participation of companies from South Korea and China, reports Reuters.

Recently, the industry and finance ministries have completed a report on the country’s nuclear power plants, exploring whether the expansion should be undertaken by CEZ or a new state-held firm.

During a break in a parliamentary session, the minister said: "The most probable option is a subsidiary of CEZ because that is the most painless one.

"This would allow for the entry of the technology supplier, but only into the blocks, and not into CEZ as such."

CEZ is Central Europe’s largest utility. It has put a temporary halt on recommencement of any official tender process as the government has to define its energy strategy.

The country plans to rely on atomic energy to secure its energy requirements, even while other European countries are moving away from nuclear power.

Image: Temelín Nuclear Power Station. Photo: courtesy of Japo / Wikipedia.