Investor interest in Bulgaria’s Belene NPP

1 December 2016

A Western company is interested in the cancelled Belene NPP project in Bulgaria, former Energy Minister Rumen Ovcharov said on 27 November, but added that he was not "authorised" to name the company. Ovcharov was one of the two former energy ministers indicted earlier in November over transactions relating to the Belene NPP, but insists that the charges are politically motivated.

The project being built by Russia's Atomstroexport was cancelled by the government in 2012. Before the recent resignation of the government, provoked by the unexpected election pro-Russian Rumen Radev as President, Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev and Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova had indicated that the Belene NPP might be built if a private investor could be found.

On 28 November, Stanislav Georgiev, Executive Secretary of the Bulgarian Atomic Forum, Bulatom, told Bulgarian National Radio that there had been two offers from private investors interested in the construction of Belene – one from  “an American financial consortium”, and one from French state power company EDF. He said the EDF offer was "more acceptable" since EDF equivalent to Bulgaria’s National Electricity Company (NEK). "This is an investor with long-term funding options. This is an excellent option, so long as it is real!" However, it would take up to 10 years to restart the plant. It is also unclear how Bulgaria would use the Russian-design nuclear reactor already manufactured for Belene, should EDF take on the project.



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