Bulgaria to Launch Procedure for N-Plant Investor by End-2010
Bulgaria's new government will launch a procedure for new private investors for its majority stake in the planned Belene nuclear power plant.
The procedure will begin by the end of the year, the economy and energy minister from the center-right GERB cabinet announced.
Traicho Traikov, Bulgaria's Energy, Economy and Tourism Minister, made the announcement during the official visit of a Bulgarian delegation, headed by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, to Germany.
The minister said there is renewed interest by big German energy companies in Bulgarian projects, but declined to name them. Representatives of these companies will start negotiations in Sofia next week.
Bulgaria's new centre-right government, which has put the 2,000 megawatt Belene under review due to rising costs, was forced to seek new investors after German utility RWE walked out of the project due to funding problems.
Russia's state nuclear company Rosatom announced in December that it is ready to finance the multi-billion nuclear project in the Bulgarian Danube town of Belene, which has stalled over lack of funding.
This was Russia's second offer to pour money into Bulgaria's second nuclear plant Belene after Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, gave the green light to a EUR 3,8 B loan at the end of May.
Bulgaria's new government of the center-right GERB party has said however that 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.
RWE's departure from Bulgaria's new Belene nuclear plant put extra pressure on government to find new shareholders while it redefines the scope of investment it needs.
The new governmen plans to cut its shares in the project from 51% to 20-30%, which will still allow the country to keep its blocking quota.
Sofia has contracted Russia's Atomstroyexport along with France's Areva and Germany's Siemens, to build Belene.
Belene's reactors are to be of the Russian VVER-1000 class, while the Western companies are providing instrumentation and control systems.
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