Bulgaria to receive Belene reactors in April

11 January 2017

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom will ensure that reactors manufactured for Bulgaria’s abandoned Belene NPP will be properly stored after being received by Bulgaria, according to local press reports.

The obligation will be sealed in a contract between Rosatom and Bulgaria's state-owned National Electricity Company (NEK),  Capital daily reported on 9 January. The reactors, which will be stored at the Belene construction site, where the plant was to be built, are expected to be delivered in April.

However, their ultimate fate is still unclear as the Belene project was cancelled by Bulgaria in 2012. Bulgaria is taking possession of the reactors after losing an arbitration suit. In June 2016, the International Court of Arbitration under the International Chamber of Commerce in Geneva ruled awarded Atomstroyexport €620m ($688m) over cancellation of the Belene project for equipment already manufactured.

Bulgaria is considering reviving the project through privatisation, but has not yet taken formal steps, despite reported interest from foreign companies. The Energy Ministry will shortly sign a contract with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for preparation of an analysis of whether Bulgaria needs new nuclear capacity, outgoing Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova told BTV on 5 January.

She explained that it is necessary for the assets of the Belene NPP to be diverted to a separate company which could be offered for privatisation - and, if there is interest, the project for new nuclear capacity might be realised. Otherwise, Bulgaria will have to find a buyer for the two reactors.



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