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Bulgaria may build Belene NPP without strategic investor

Bulgaria may build Belene NPP without strategic investorBulgaria will retain a 50% stake in the Belene nuclear power scheme if it fails to attract a strategic investor, energy minister Traycho Traykov said. Speaking at the fourth New Energy Strategy conference hosted by Capital weekly, Traykov explained that if this scenario should unfold, Bulgaria will offer Russia up to 20% in the project.

However, Traykov’s statement flies in the face of the stance of finance minister Simeon Djankov, who said on Monday the project would only be implemented if a European strategic investor is brought on board. In an interview for TV channel, Djankov said, "If no such investor shows up, Belene won’t be; if it does – yes, it will be."

The 2,000 Belene nuke project was designed to offset the loss in generating capacity at Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power facility following the premature closure of two pairs of 440 MW reactors. Russian company AtomStroyExport will handle construction works.

Sergey Kirienko, director general of Russia's state-owned nuclear power corporation Rosatom, announced last week that Moscow is ready to lend around EUR 2 billion to finance the project this year and the next.

Traykov explained details of the financing scheme should be presented to Rosatom in the coming days. "Our main objective is to attract a European strategic investor into the project," he noted. "If the Russian side wants to build the reactor, we’ll let them do it, but there’ll be no state or corporate guarantees, nor a 80% ownership in the power plant."

He suggested Russia could hold between 15% and 20% in the future project company, with Bulgaria paying through electricity from the plant. Experts told the conference a long-term power purchase agreement with Russia will have a negative impact on the market.

24 February 2010 - Dnevnik

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