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Belene nuclear project restarted

July 27, 2018

Bulgarian government approved the resumption of construction of an abandoned nuclear power plant project Belene, which could now become one of the largest energy projects in South East Europe in the last few decades. The six year long ban on the development of the 2000 MW Belene NPP has been abolished and the Government made it possible to issue a tender for the selection of a strategic partner for the project. Despite the announcement that no guarantees or preferential prices for the purchase of electricity will be given, Russian Rosatom and China's National Nuclear Corporation have already expressed interest in the project, while French Framatome SA was handed an invitation to express interest in the project. Bulgaria had previously cancelled the project mid construction after facing strong pressure from the US and the EU to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. Having cancelled the construction, Bulgaria was forced to pay over €620 million to Russian based Rosatom for scrapping the project. However, during the process, it also received a number of integral parts for the two reactors. As a result, the country has to decide what to do with the equipment. Russian Gasprom also cancelled the construction of South Stream in 2014 by which natural gas would have been delivered to southern European countries via Black Sea, after EU forced Bulgaria to withdraw from the project. It was deemed that South Stream would violate European regulations on competition. Resumption of the Belene project could mean that this project might also be reconsidered..

 

Source: Reuters

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