Bulgaria's Deputy PM: Serbia and North Macedonia Show Interest in Belene NPP Project
Serbia and North Macedonia have shown interest in participating in neighbouring Bulgaria's project for construction of Belene nuclear power plant (NPP), Bulgarian deputy prime minister Tomislav Donchev said, reports SeeNews.
"Two Balkan countries - North Macedonia and Serbia - have expressed interest in principle in participating in the project," Donchev said in an interview aired live by Bulgarian private broadcaster bTV on Tuesday.
The Bulgarian state will participate in the joint company that will develop the Belene NPP project through the manufactured equipment it already owns, a stake will be held by a strategic investor and another part will be proposed to interested third parties, Donchev said.
"They [Serbia and North Macedonia] could be partners in this third component."
In November, Bulgaria's government approved the energy ministry's draft procedure for selecting a strategic investor in the project. The procedure envisages inviting expression of interest, to be followed by applications from interested parties, submission of binding offers and negotiations.
The procedure will be announced by the end of March, Donchev said.
In June, Bulgaria's parliament mandated the energy minister to seek potential strategic investors willing to build the Belene NPP. Regarding the financial expenses related to the project, prime minister Boyko Borissov and energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova have repeatedly stressed that Bulgaria will only participate in the project company through a non-monetary contribution - the reactors and other equipment plus the construction site and the respective licences.
In December 2016, following international arbitration, Bulgaria paid 601.6 million euro ($680.1 million) in compensation to Atomstroyexport for the equipment for the future power plant already manufactured by the Russian company for the project. The equipment is now stored at the site designated for the construction of the power plant.
In 2008, the then Socialist-led government broke ground for the plant in Belene, on the Danube river, after a long pause and hired Atomstroyexport to build two reactors for the plant. After the project made scant headway, Bulgaria abandoned it with a parliament decision in February 2013, citing huge construction costs and unclear prospects for the sale of the electricity produced by the plant.
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