[NEK, 17 October; novinite.com, 18 October] Five of the six companies invited to submit preliminary bids for a 49% stake in the planned Belene nuclear power plant in Bulgaria did so by the 17 October deadline, the country's National Electric Company (NEK) announced. The companies that have submitted initial offers are Belgium's Electrabel, CEZ of the Czech Republic, EOn and RWE of Germany, and Italy's Enel. Electricite de France (EdF) was also invited to submit a bid, but did not. Bids were originally due to be submitted by October 1, but the deadline was extended to allow potential investors to prepare the documentation required for the bid process. Under the proposed arrangement for the joint venture, NETC will have a 51% interest in the plant. NETC plans to select a strategic partner by around the end of the year after negotiations with bidders. In October 2006, NEK chose AtomStroyExport (ASE) over a Skoda-led consortium to build the Belene nuclear power plant comprising two 1000-MWe AES-92 VVER units with Generation-III reactors. The total construction costs of the plant are estimated at Eur4 billion ($5.7 billion). Bulgaria's cabinet has decided to double the amount of debt it is willing to guarantee for the project. It earlier agreed to underwrite a Eur300 million ($425 million) loan from the EU's Euratom agency, but has announced that it is now willing to guarantee a loan of the same amount from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
National Electricity Company (NEK)
WNA's Nuclear Power in Bulgaria information paperWNN: More time given for Belene plant bidWNN: Belene project seeks investorsWNN: Russian firm to complete Bulgarian plant