Belene project seeks investors

03 May 2007

The Bulgarian project to complete two reactors at Belene took a step forward with the invitation for investors to express interest in up to 49% of the project company.

Government permission was granted in April 2004 to complete the two Belene pressurized water reactors, upon which work was suspended in 1991. After a public tender process, Russia's AtomStroyExport (ASE) was chosen to provide AES-92 model reactors, and France's Areva to supply instrumentation and control equipment in October 2006. The final details and value of the contracts are scheduled for agreement with Belene's owner, the National Eelctricity Company (NEK), late this year. Some options include the re-use of existing plant structures.

In the 2 May invitation, NEK said a Belene Project Company (BPC), in which it held at least 51%, would be established to manage the work. Investors are sought for the remaining 49%.

The invitation describes three modes of investment:
  • Strategic investors may propose medium- or long-term contracts with BPC to take a share of the new plant's electricity production.
  • External investors may purchase ordinary shares to assist in debt financing. They could also contract part of electricity production.
  • An operation and maintenance (O&M) contractor would be able to propose the scope of its participation, given that NEK would require a 51% stake or equivalent power in any Belene O&M company.
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.

The invitation also reveals Worley Parsons as the architect engineer for the plant, and that ASE have suggested that TVEL supply nuclear fuel. The two Russian companies are destined for integration in the forthcoming state-owned titan, AtomEnergoProm.

Further information

National Electricity Company (NEK)

WNN: Russian firm to complete Bulgarian plant