SOFIA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- World leaders in nuclear energy have declared interest in participating in the construction of Bulgaria's unfinished Belene nuclear power plant (NPP), Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said here on Tuesday.
In response to an official invitation, which was published in May, seven companies such as Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), and South Korea's Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), have expressed interest to become a strategic investor in the project, Petkova said.
Within 90 days, Bulgarian authorities will prepare a shortlist of the companies, and send invitations for the submission of binding offers, she said.
When they submit binding offers, then the real negotiations would begin, the minister said.
She recalled that the project should be implemented on a market basis, without providing a state guarantee, without providing a corporate guarantee, and without signing contracts for the long-term purchase of electricity.
Furthermore, Bulgaria would have a blocking quota and the possibility to influence the important decisions related to this project, Petkova added.
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.
However, Bulgaria so far has paid almost 1.5 billion U.S. dollars for the construction of the Belene NPP site and the manufacturing of its two 1,000-MW reactors. Currently, the equipment is in Bulgaria and is stored on the Belene NPP Site.
The Balkan country has only one operational NPP. The 2,000-megawatt plant is located at Kozloduy on the Danube River and produces one-third of the national electricity.