Nuclear investors shortlisted for Belene

20 July 2007

Bulgaria's project to build two reactors at the Belene site has progressed with the shortlisting of six major investors, now invited to bid.

Shortlisted to take up to 49% of the project company and oversee construction and management of the new unit are: Electrabel of Belgium, Enel of Italy, CEZ of the Czech Republic,
Electricite de France, EOn of Germany, and RWE - also from Germany.

The five all submitted expressions of interest by the 6 June deadline, as did the four companies listed as interested in a stake of up to 25%: ATEL and EGL of Switzerland, Endesa of Spain and Kumerio Med - a copper smelter and refiner from Belgium.

The project would be managed by Bulgaria's National Electricity Company (NEK), which has contracted AtomStroyExport (ASE) in cooperation with Areva and Siemens to complete two VVER-1000 pressurized water reactor.
Worley Parsons is contracted to act as architect engineer for the plant, and ASE have suggested that TVEL supply nuclear fuel.

The first group of companies will now be invited to sign confidentiality agreements before receiving information on the project upon which to base detailed bids. The deadline for submissions has been set as 1 October.

Construction began on four reactors at Belene under plans drawn up by Bulgaria's communist government and the Soviet Union. Work on site began in 1987 but ceased in 1991. It is understood that some existing structures could be reused, saving time and money.

The Bulgarian government has indicated that it will consider providing sovereign guarantees to support part of the project debt if the European Investment Bank participate under the terms of the Euratom Treaty.

NEK plan to begin construction in 2008, with the units entering operation in 2014 and 2015.

Further information

National Electricity Company (NEK)

WNN: Belene project seeks investors
WNN: Russian firm to complete Bulgarian plant

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