June 16, 2024
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HomeSEE Energy NewsBulgaria abandons project of Nuclear power plant Belene

Bulgaria abandons project of Nuclear power plant Belene

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The Bulgarian government decided to repeal a previous government decision to seek investors and equipment manufacturers for the construction of a nuclear power plant at Belene.

The energy ministry must cancel the procedure under which the National Electricity Company (NEK) was to select a strategic investor to build the Belene NPP, the government said in a press release.

NEK also must notify the decision to the applicants that have been shortlisted to submit binding offers and with which confidentiality agreements have been signed.

In 2013, the Bulgarian parliament cancelled a decision to build a second plant at Belene. This led Russia’s Atomstroyexport, which had already manufactured the reactors, to claim compensation from Bulgaria. In 2016, the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva ruled that NEK must pay 601.6 million euros to Atomstroyexport for the equipment.

Bulgaria sought to revive the Belene project in 2018. Russia’s Rosatom signed memorandums of understanding with France’s Framatome and US General Electric to submit a joint bid in a tender for the plant’s construction.

In January 2023, the former caretaker cabinet put forward an energy strategy plan under which the country was to build four new nuclear reactors to guarantee its energy security — two at Kozloduy and two at Belene.

According to earlier local media reports, the caretaker government was due to negotiate the potential construction of a nuclear plant at Belene with French state-owned energy company Electricite de France (EDF).

Following a change of government after the April 2023 snap vote, the new parliament in July authorised the energy minister to start negotiations on the potential sale to Ukraine of mothballed equipment that had been intended for the Belene plant, signalling a move away from the caretaker government’s strategy.

Plans for a new reactor at Kozloduy have been underway since last year, leading to the power plant operator and US corporation Westinghouse Electric signing a memorandum of understanding on the potential construction of an AP1000 reactor. In June, the two companies agreed to study the potential for Bulgarian industry and infrastructure at the Kozloduy site to support the AP1000 reactor build.

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