Bulgarian PM Hopes for 'Low' Damage in Belene NPP Trial

Business » ENERGY | September 13, 2013, Friday // 13:11
Bulgarian PM: Lawyers Will Minimize Damage in Belene NPP Case: Bulgarian PM Hopes for 'Low' Damage in Belene NPP Trial Plamen Oresharski, Bulgarian Prime Minister in the Socialist-endorsed Cabinet, photo by BGNES

Bulgarian Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, is convinced the lawyers working on the case with Atomstroyexport's arbitration claim against Bulgaria will apply all effort to minimize the damage.

Oresharski made the statement Friday during the so-called Parliamentary Control when members of the Cabinet answer questions of Members of the Parliament.

Bulgaria's previous government of the now-opposition center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, scrapped the project to build a second Nuclear Power Plant, NPP, in the Danube town of Belene in March 2012, declaring it economically unfeasible.

In the middle of July 2012, Russia's state nuclear company Atomstroyexport took Bulgaria's NEK to the arbitration court for EUR 58 M over delayed payments for its work on two nuclear reactors. In September the same year, it upped its claim to EUR 1 B.

After GERB abandoned the project, the pro-Belene left-wing Bulgarian Socialist party, BSP launched a petition for a referendum on the Russian-Bulgarian project. The referendum was held on January 27, 2013.

Soon after it took office at the end of May 2013, Bulgaria's Socialist-led government of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, endorsed by the liberal, predominantly ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, included in its plans a possible restart of the Belene NPP project.

Speaking in the Parliament Friday, Oresharski said his hints about reviving Belene had only "indicative nature;" were "in the context of another debate about Bulgaria's commitments," and should not be interpreted as an attempt to predict how the case will end.

"The scale and the outcome of this case should not be commented in plenary hall. Having worked in the past with White & Case LLP International Law Firm, I am convinced they will apply all possible effort to minimize the damage, however, until I see the final result, I will keep worrying. I hope the end will be the best for my country. We have an open case here, an open issue. It would be great if it did not exist, so that we can have other things to debate," he stated.

On Sunday, Ramadan Atalay, Member of the Parliament from DPS, stated Bulgaria's rulers will commission another feasibility study of the project.

One day earlier, Sergei Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the party of European Socialists (PES) and former PM, stated projects like the South Stream gas pipeline and the Belene NPP had the potential to give Bulgaria a much stronger position on the European map thanks to billions in investments in the Bulgarian economy and local job creation.

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Tags: Referendum, consultants, GERB, NPP, Nuclear Power Plant, Russia, PES, feasibility study, GERB, GERB government, Socialist-led government, Plamen Oresharski, NPP, Nuclear Power Plant, Belene, South stream, gas pipeline, Bulgarian Socialist Party, Sergei Stanishev, DPS, ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Member of the Parliament, Ramadan Atalay, BSP
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