Bulgaria mulls privatizing unfinished Belene nuclear power plant: minister

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-15 19:55:14|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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SOFIA, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Bulgaria is looking into privatizing its unfinished Belene nuclear power plant in an effort to revive the 2,000-megawatt project, the country's Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said here on Thursday.

There was investor interest at the end of last year, but in order to verify the reality of this interest, there was no other way than conducting a public transparent privatization procedure, Petkova told reporters.

This privatization procedure would show whether Belene nuclear power plant (NPP) is a "viable" project, Petkova said.

"If it is not viable, if there is no investor interest, we will look for another option," she said.

So far, Bulgaria has paid almost 1.5 billion U.S. dollars for the construction of the Belene NPP site and the manufacturing of its two reactors. The state would hold some minority stake in the project after the privatization because "it is a nuclear power plant and the nuclear risk is entirely on our territory, so the state has to participate and control somehow this process," Petkova said.

The state's involvement would not be related to the provision of resources, government guarantees and long-term contracts for the purchase of electricity.

However, Petkova said the Bulgarian Academy of Science is currently preparing a feasibility study on the Belene NPP, which would be done by September after which decisions would be taken.

The Belene NPP was approved in 2005. Russian company Atomstroyexport, an engineering branch of the state-owned Rosatom, won the bid to build this NPP in 2006, but the project was frozen in 2009 and suspended in 2013.

Bulgaria has only one operational NPP located at Kozloduy on the Danube River. The 2,000-megawatt plant produces one-third of national electricity needs.