A “technical error” was made in calculating the interest component of the €620m ($696m) compensation payment owed by Bulgaria’s state-owned National Electric Company (NEK) to Russia’s nuclear equipment manufacturer Atomstroyexport for the cancellation in 2012 of the Belene NPP project, Bulgarian energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova told local media on 13 September. Petkova said a “compound interest” rate has been used in the June 2016 ruling of the Geneva-based International Court of Arbitration (ICC). Compound interest is calculated over the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods of a loan. She said this was “not acceptable under national legislation and there is no way it can be paid”. She added that the sum owed by Bulgaria will be reduced, but she did not say by how much. “We think a technical mistake took place and interest for delays in payment has been added to the total,” she noted.

Meanwhile, the Russian-Bulgarian working group met September in Bulgaria to discuss the ICC ruling on the Belene NPP project. In which Russia insisted that the ruling should be fulfilled as soon as possible and the debt repaid. Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev had earlier noted Bulgaria would have to pay for the Russian reactors which had been made for Belene NPP before any progress could be made on deciding the fate of those reactors. Since the arbitration decision in June 2016, Bulgarian officials have been seeking to resell them and discussing the possibility of reviving the Belene NPP project and using them.