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Russia ready to invest in Belene NPP as long as makes economic sense

November 29, 2011, 20:30 UTC+3

Bulgaria will make a weighty contribution to the Southern Gas Corridor project

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SOFIA, November 29 (Itar-Tass) —— Bulgaria will make a weighty contribution to the Southern Gas Corridor project, Bulgarian Economy, Energy and Tourism Minister Traicho Traikov told reporters on Tuesday.

“The first segment of the Southern Gas Corridor will be ready with the laying of a linking gas pipe between Bulgaria and Greece in 2012. The route is being surveyed and its environmental impact is being evaluated. The construction of a similar linkage to Turkey may start within one year, but that depends on bilateral agreements. The goal of Bulgaria is to create a gas infrastructure in which neither supplying party will have more than 50% by 2020,” the minister said.

The Southern Gas Corridor is an alternative route for delivering Turkmen and Azerbaijani natural gas from the Caspian region to Southern Europe bypassing Russia. It is made of the prospective Nabucco, trans-Adriatic gas pipeline and ITGI of Turkey, Greece and Italy.

The minister also said that Bulgaria would get 185 million euros from euro funds for its refusal from nuclear energy. “According to our estimates, we need more substantial resources. Our stand is being elaborated,” Traikov said.

As for the Russian project of the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant in Bulgaria, the minister said the consultations were in progress. “No agreements will be reached until all the questions are solved,” he said.

The tender for building the Belene nuclear power plant in Bulgaria was announced in 2005, and Atomstroyexport was the winner. The Bulgarian National Electric Company and Atomstroyexport signed the Belene deal on November 29, 2006. The Russian project was appraised as the one meeting every technical requirement for light-water nuclear power plants of the new generation in 2007. The contract on building the Belene NPP was signed on January 18, 2008.

The Bulgarian company said in August that it was preparing to lodge a lawsuit with the International Arbitration Court in Geneva to collect 61 million euros from Atomstroyexport for its failure to sell the old equipment stored at the Belene NPP site.

The Russian company appealed to the Arbitration Court of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris in July to collect 58 million euros from the Bulgarian company in payment for the works it had done in Belene.

On September 30, in Sofia the parties signed Amendment 14 to the Agreement on Belene NPP construction extending its effective period up to March 31, 2012, which proved their willingness to proceed with the project implementation, Atomstroyexport said.

At present, geological surveys, drilling works and preparation of foundation pit are completed in full scope to start the construction of the 1st Unit; also an operative concrete mixing plant, treatment facilities and appropriately equipped construction and geo-technical laboratories are available at the site.

Russian design of Belene NPP construction is found consistent with EUR technical requirements for light water reactors of new generation. In 2010 the Basic Design for Belene NPP including the Interim Safety.


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