Russia Wants to Be Heavily Involved in Modifying Bulgaria's NPP Project

Business » ENERGY | March 30, 2012, Friday // 17:51| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Russia Wants to Be Heavily Involved in Modifying Bulgaria's NPP Project Bulgaria's new Economy Minister Dobrev was in Russia on Friday for tough energy talks. Photo by BGNES

The Russian state energy corporations would still like to be heavily involved in Bulgaria's endeavors even after earlier this week the Bulgarian government decided to terminate the joint project for a 2000 MW NPP in Belene.

This has emerged Friday afternoon from the talks of the new Bulgarian Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism Delyan Dobrev with key Russian officials in Moscow.

On Wednesday, the Bulgarian Cabinet of PM Boyko Borisov and the GERB party decided to terminate the construction of the Belene NPP by Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, saying the project was "unfeasible" and too expensive.

This development came after a phone conversation between Borisov and the Russian PM and President-elect Vladimir Putin earlier this week, when it was agreed that Dobrev will be sent to Moscow for high-profile talks.

Later Friday afternoon, Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister announced that after the project with Atomstroyexport at Belene has been terminated, another Russian energy giant – Gazprom – would like to participate in the construction of a natural gas thermal power plant on what was supposed to be the site of a NPP.

This interest has been expressed by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, who also made it clear that Russia could reduce the natural gas prices for Bulgaria by 11%.

With respect to the termination of the Belene NPP contract, Dobrev explained after meeting with Russian Deputy PM Igor Sechin, as cited by BNR, that Bulgaria has agree to pay for all the equipment that has been produced by Russia to date.

The exact amount of money that Bulgaria will pay to Russia on this arrangement, however, is to become clear in April.

At the same time, Russia's authorities have also expressed interest in becoming involved in the transformation of the "Belene NPP" by installing the 1000-MW unit produced for Belene in the existing Bulgarian NPP in Kozloduy.

Friday's talks between Dobrev and Sechin did not touch upon any compensation claims that Russia might have over the termination of the Belene contract, as noted by the Russian press earlier.

Dobrev and Sechin are said to have concluded that after the Borisov-Putin talks, Bulgaria and Russia have the “political will to resolve all these issues, and are now only supposed to agree on the details.”

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Tags: Belene NPP, Belene, Atomstroyexport, Rosatom, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Economy Minister, Energy minister, Delyan Dobrev, Igor Sechin, Alexei Miller, Gazprom, Nuclear Power Plant, nuclear reactor, Kozloduy NPP
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