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Belene / Bulgaria Begins Investor Selection For New Reactors

By Kamen Kraev
23 May 2019

Bulgaria Begins Investor Selection For New Reactors
23 May (NucNet): Bulgaria has published a call for interest for potential investors in the two-unit Belene nuclear power station project in the Official Journal of the European Union, staring an investor selection procedure first announced on 11 March.

The call for interest was published on 22 May, just days after Bulgarian energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova told local media publication was expected in June because of delays with the preparation of related documentation.

Interested parties now have 90 days to apply and 12 months to complete the procedure.

In March, Bulgarian state energy company NEK said it would be looking for an investor for the construction of Belene with options to take a minority stake in a future project company or purchase electricity to be generated by the facility.

NEK has said it will participate in the project company by contributing assets including the licensed site, nuclear island equipment, permits and documentation.

According to the call for interest, the new nuclear station must be operational within 10 years of the signing of an investors’ agreement and its cost must not exceed €10bn for both units.

In 2008, Bulgaria ordered two Russian VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor units for Belene, but the project was cancelled in 2012 because of financial and political considerations.

In June 2018, the government formally revived the project following a vote in parliament.

A 2016 arbitration settlement awarded Bulgaria most of the nuclear equipment already produced by Russia for Belene under the 2008 agreement.

France’s Framatome, China’s CNNC, Russia’s Rosatom and US-based General Electric have already formally expressed an interest in investing or providing equipment and services for Belene. Talks have also been held with South Korea’s Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power.

Bulgarian officials have said that if Bulgaria goes ahead with the Belene project Russia’s Atomstroyexport will be the main contractor.

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