Bulgaria Nuclear Project Maintenance to Cost EUR 200 M a Year

Business » ENERGY | November 5, 2009, Thursday // 14:50| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Bulgaria Nuclear Project Maintenance to Cost EUR 200 M a Year Russia's Atomstroyexport, which was contracted to build the two 1 000 megawatt reactors at Belene, has not yet claimed damages for the delay in the project. Photo by BGNES

The nuclear project in the Bulgarian Danube town of Belene, which has stalled over funding problems, will need EUR 200 M to be maintained, according to the head of the holding, which groups the country's top energy assets.

"Now it is not a good time for suspending the project, it should be sustained even though with minimum of funds," Boris Pekov, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bulgarian Energy Holding and executive director of the state enterprise “Radioactive waste” said on Thursday.

According to Pekov freezing the project will also cost money. He assured that Russia's Atomstroyexport, which was contracted to build the two 1 000 megawatt reactors, has not yet claimed damages for the delay in the project.

The expert warned that the criteria for a new strategic investor should be selected very carefully, which clear requirements and realistic expectations.

The statement comes about a week after German utility RWE abandoned plans to participate in the construction of a 2000MW nuclear plant in the Bulgarian Danube town of Belene due to funding problems.

Bulgaria's new centre-right government has said it will hire a consultant to help it decide how to proceed and attract new investors. The process is expected to take a year and a half.

The previous Socialist-led government chose last year German power utility RWE to become a strategic partner in the Belene project with a stake of 49%.

State power utility NEK has a majority stake in the plant and has contracted Russia's Atomstroyexport to build the two 1 000 megawatt reactors.

The new government, which has put Belene under review due to rising costs, plans to cut its shares in the project from 51% to 20-30%, which will still allow the country to keep its blocking quota.

The previous cabinet started talks with the Russian government on a EUR 3,8 B state loan for the project and offered guarantees for it.

The cabinet of the center-right GERB party says it is not willing to provide any state guarantees for loans and is yet to decide whether to scrap or push ahead due to purely economic terms the construction of the multi-billion Belene nuclear power plant.

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