Bulgaria Hopes to Get Belene Nuclear Plant Consultant by Sept

Business » ENERGY | July 12, 2010, Monday // 17:17| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Bulgaria Hopes to Get Belene Nuclear Plant Consultant by Sept Bulgaria is seeking a strategic European investor in Belene nuclear plant. RWE AG, Germany’s second-largest utility, walked out of the project last autumn over funding problems. Photo by EPA/ BGNES

The Bulgarian Energy Holding is expected to pick a consultant to help it decide how to proceed and attract new investors for the planned Belene nuclear power plant by September, the energy minister has said.

“I am absolutely certain that the consultant of the project will be known by September,” Minister Traicho Traikov told the Bulgarian National Radio on Monday.

In his words the consultant will be obliged to “find out how the invested money so far has been spent and how much has been stolen.”

Six candidates submitted at the end of March documents to bid in the tender opened by the Bulgarian Energy Holding for Belene consultant - HSBC, Societe Generale, KPMG in a consortium with McGuire, Rothschild, Argil, and Ernst & Young.

“Bulgaria will pay Russia for the production of the first unit at Belene nuclear power plant only after it finds a strategic investor,” the minister said.

“The Russians know that we have no money and try to make this project a reality by attracting foreign investors. That's why they will get their money only after we find one,” he added.

The first reactor is expected to be built by mid-September for delivery to the site. Bulgaria has to pay an installment of EUR 280 M in addition to EUR 300 M already paid.

Last month Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov unexpectedly said that his country was “giving up” on Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project decision, and that construction on the planned Belene nuclear power plant had been suspended.

In a dramatic twist that left all of Europe confused, Borisov retracted his statements shortly afterwards, saying that the Bulgarian government hasn’t made a final decision regarding the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and Belene nuclear power plant.

The statements have caused confusion and dismay in Russia.

After it took office in July 2009, Bulgaria's new center-right government of the GERB party made it clear it was going to reconsider the country's participation in the three large-scale energy projects - South Stream gas pipeline, Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, and Belene Nuclear Power Plant.

Bulgaria suspended the construction of its second nuclear power plant until it finds a new investor and funds to complete the project at Belene, on the Danube, 180 kilometres northeast of the capital Sofia.

The country's center-right government has reportedly unsuccessfully courted Romania and Serbia as it angles for a new chief investor in its second nuclear power plant Belene to replace the German energy company RWE, which withdrew last autumn.

The plant was originally to be built by Russian company Atomstroyexport for EUR 4 B. The firm had signed a contract with the previous, Socialist-led government, swept from power by Borisov's conservative GERB party swept in last year's July elections.

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Tags: Belene, gas supplies, Belene NPP, gas transit pipeline, South stream, pipeline, Burgas Alexandroupolis Oil Pipeline, Burgas-Alexandroupolis, Viktor Zubkov, Gazprom, Vladimir Putin, Russia, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, Borisov, Putin, Traicho Traikov, Bulgarian Energy Holding
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