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Russia has chance to win lawsuit against Bulgaria over Belene NPP

September 17, 2012, 22:45 UTC+3
It is quite possible that the Russian side will be ready to take assets of the national energy company
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MOSCOW, September 17 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia has all chances to win the lawsuit against Bulgaria for its refusal to build the Belene nuclear power plant and get compensation for the losses incurred in the former of assets in the Bulgarian national energy company.

A source in the Russian atomic industry, close to the talks, told Itar-Tass that “there are all chances to win the lawsuit” which amounts to one billion euros.

“If this lawsuit leads to the bankruptcy of the national energy company, it is quite possible that the Russian side will be ready to take assets of the national energy company,” the source said.

He also added that Bulgaria was aware of the consequences of the refusal to build the nuclear power plant beforehand.

Russia “will not under any circumstances transfer any documents or technologies” of the American company Westinghouse which was conducting a feasibility study for using Belene equipment at another Bulgarian nuclear power plant, Kozloduy.

On September 11, Russian Atomstroyexport increased its lawsuit against the Bulgarian National Electric Company to one billion euros. The case is being examined by the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

Russia and Bulgaria signed a memorandum on late November 2010 that lays out the principles of establishing a project company to build the Belene nuclear power plant.

Bulgaria started experiencing problems with the project after the outbreak of the global financial crisis. The situation deteriorated after the investor - Germany's RWE concern that was bidding for 49 percent of the NPP shares -- had withdrawn from the project.

The Belene site was approved for the construction of a second Bulgarian NPP by a Council of Ministers decree on March 20, 1981. The site was handed to the Ministry of Economics on December 31, 1981.

The foundations of the future power plant were laid in 1987 according to the design of Atomenergoproekt Kiev from the USSR and Energoproekt Sofia. The design suggested the construction of four VVER-1000/V 320 reactors. Between 1988 and 1990 40 percent of the construction work of reactor 1 was finished and 80 percent of the equipment was supplied. The project was abandoned in 1990 due to the democratic changes in Bulgaria. In 2002, the government decided to restart the Belene project. The tender for the construction of the nuclear power plant was announced in 2005 and was won by Russian Atomstroyexport. The National Electric Company launched a procedure for selection of a contractor for the engineering, procurement, and commissioning of Belene Nuclear Power Plant, Units 1 and 2.

Bulgaria withdrew from the project in March 2012.

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