Rosatom: Bulgaria's Conclusive Suspension of Belene NPP Will Not Affect Arbitration Proceedings
The recent decision of the Bulgarian Parliament for the conclusive termination of the Belene NPP project is unrelated to the proceedings worth EUR 1 B at the Court of Arbitration in Paris initiated by Russia against the National Electric Company (NEK), according to Rosatom Spokesperson Sergey Novikov.
Bulgaria's Parliament confirmed Wednesday the country's decision to abandon the Belene nuclear power plant project and recommended that the government announce an international competition for bids on the construction of an additional unit on the site of the existing Kozloduy NPP.
In a Saturday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), Novikov made clear that the proceedings at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris continued and would not be affected by the decision of the Bulgarian Parliament to cancel the N-plant project.
Novikov added that Rosatom would present its stance in detail after the company acquainted itself with the stance of Bulgaria's new Parliament and government, given that a return to the project was an option too.
Asked whether he expected Bulgaria to bring the Belene NPP project back on the agenda, he said that "the history of a number of nuclear projects has shown that some of them are implemented some 30 years after their launch."
Stressing the numerous factors which were at play in any N-plant project, Novikov suggested that "there will always be an opportunity to return to mutually beneficial terms of implementation of this project."
In July 2011, Russia's state nuclear company Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom, opened arbitration proceedings against NEK over delayed payments for its work on two nuclear reactors.
In September 2011, Rosatom increased the claim against Bulgaria's NEK from EUR 58 M to EUR 1 B.
In October 2011, Bulgaria's NEK filed a counterclaim worth EUR 61 M against Atomstroyexport with the Arbitration Court of Geneva.
Bulgaria selected the Russian company Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom, to build a two 1000-MW reactors at Belene and signed a deal for the construction, allegedly for the price of EUR 3.997 B with the Russians during Putin's visit to Sofia in January 2008.
The Belene NPP has been de facto frozen since the fall of 2009 when the previously selected strategic investor, the German company RWE, which was supposed to provide EUR 2 B in exchange for a 49% stake, pulled out.
After failing to agree on the cost of the project and find Western investors, the Bulgarian center-right GERB government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov decided to suspend the project to build a second N-plant in March 2012.
Borisov and his Cabinet resigned on February20 amid mass protests against unbearable utility bills and wide-spread poverty.
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