Bulgaria PM Optimistic on N-Reactor's Sale after Meeting Rouhani

Business » ENERGY | July 12, 2016, Tuesday // 09:39| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Bulgaria PM Optimistic on N-Reactor's Sale after Meeting Rouhani Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov (L) with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on July 11, 2016. Photo: GIS

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said that Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will ask energy experts to study the possible purchase of Russian-made reactors that were made for an abandoned Bulgarian nuclear plant project.

Borisov is in Tehran on Monday and Tuesday, leading a large ministerial delegation. While three bilateral documents were signed during official meetings and Bulgaria received an invitation to join a new transport route, no progress has been reported on Sofia's efforts to sell the nuclear equipment.

The Iranian Presidency's website quotes Hassan Rouhani as saying that "Bulgaria can be one of Iran’s gates to European countries in all fields." No specific mention is made of any projects.

Bulgaria abandoned the Belene Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) project it was working on with Atomstroyexport and does not need the equipment manufactured by the Russian company. However, it will have to pay a total of EUR 550 M following an arbitration ruling in favour of Atomstroyexport and will get the reactor and other devices it had commissioned.

The government in Sofia earlier indicated it was exploring the option to sell it to a third country.

Looking for a buyer, Borisov made clear before departing for Iran that he does not exclude the option of having to build Belene NPP in case the search yields no results.

Bulgarian experts differ in their opinion. Bulgarian Energy Forum chair Ivan Hinovski argues the country could only sell the equipment at a loss, even though it is compatible with Buchehr NPP's new unit in Iran that is currently being built.

Energy consultant and ex-Ambassaror to Moscow Ilian Vassilev, however, warns the project is not feasible and could be reduced to a battle of "lobbyists".

More meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, with Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova and Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev due to discuss the issue with Iranian officials.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Iran, Boyko Borisov, Hassan Rouhani
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