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Chinese, US, French firms may compete with Russia for construction of Belene NPP

March 04, 20:18 UTC+3 SOFIA

Initially it was planned that the Belene nuclear power plant would be built with the assistance of Russia

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SOFIA, March 4. /TASS/. China’s CNNC, the US’ GE and France’s Framatome may compete with Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom for the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant in Bulgaria, the construction of the plant may start in 2020-2021. That is according to the documents the Russian government’s press service prepared for the official visit of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to Bulgaria.

"It is assumed that the construction of the nuclear power plant may begin in 2020-2021," according to the documents.

It is also reported that potential investors should be ready to join the project on the terms of the Bulgarian side - without the provision of state guarantees and without concluding long-term power purchase agreements.

Earlier, Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova announced that Bulgaria is going start choosing a strategic investor for the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant by the end of February.

About the project

Bulgaria wants to build the Belene NPP for 9 bln euros over 8 years. Sofia sets several mandatory conditions to potential strategic investors. In particular, the strategic investor should use of the equipment that was already delivered to Bulgaria as much as possible and continue working in accordance with the previously approved project. The maximum cost of construction is 10 billion euros, and the plant should be commissioned in no longer than 10 years.

Initially it was planned that the Belene NPP with a capacity of 2 GW would be built with the assistance of Russia. Atomstroyexport (part of Rosatom) won a relevant international tender for the construction of two nuclear power units in 2006.

The Bulgarian government invested about 3 billion levs (about 1.5 billion euros) in the project. The required equipment for the two reactors of the station was delivered to the site.

In 2009 the project was halted. In March 2012, Sofia abandoned plans to build a two-unit Belene nuclear power plant with capacity of 2 GW. The government of Bulgaria, which at that time was headed by current Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, announced the termination of the project.

On May 12, 2018, Borisov said that the country intends to resume the construction of the nuclear power plant.

Sofia stressed that a strategic investor for the project will be chosen on a competitive basis.

Sofia does not intend to provide official guarantees for the project and invest additional budget funds in it, while legally retaining the right to block decisions among shareholders.

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