Bulgaria’s nuclear power station draws interest

By Joe Sargent21 August 2019

Rosatom Nuclear Plant Index

A Rosatom nuclear plant in Russia

A total of 13 companies have sent letters of interest to Bulgaria’s energy ministry for the relaunch of the Belene nuclear power plant (NPP) construction project, Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova announced.

Plans to build the Belene NPP were scrapped in 2012, but Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, revived the project after the country was ordered to reimburse over €600 million to Atomstroyexport (the Russian Federation’s nuclear power equipment and service exporter and subdivision of Rosatom), which had previously won the contract to build the power plant and had already begun work.

The Bulgarian government announced a new tender in May looking for a strategic investor. The government in Sofia hopes to finish the project within ten years at a cost of up to €10bn.

Letters of interest to become a strategic invester came from companies already interested in the project such as Rosatom, China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power. Other companies included; German-registered Bektron-Liaz-Engineering, and three Bulgarian-registered entities.

France’s Framatome and US General Electric also sent letters, expressing their interest in supplying equipment and securing the funding for the project.

Neighbouring country North Macedonia showed interest in acquiring a minority stake in Belene and signing an electricity purchasing agreement.

An interest in minority participation in the NPP was also received from Bulgarian companies Atomenergoremont and Grand Energy Distribution.

Within a period of 90 days, a working group with representatives from the Ministry of Energy, Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD, National Electric Company EAD and Electricity System Operator EAD will prepare a shortlist of companies interested in participating in the Belene NPP project as strategic investors, the ministry said.

According to the Ministry the procedure will be flexible allowing conversations with companies that have a minority interest in the project or an interest in purchasing electricity to talk to the selected investment partner.

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