Five firms shortlisted to participate in Belene project

19 December 2019

Bulgaria has shortlisted five companies to participate in the Belene nuclear power plant project. The applicants included three to be a strategic investor and two to be an equipment supplier.

In August, Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said a total of 13 applications had been received for participation in the project. Seven companies expressed an interest in being a strategic investor: China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC); Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co(KHNP); Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, through its Atomenergoprom subsidiary; a consortium including Czech firm Vitkovice Heavy Machinery; two Bulgaria-registered bidders, Belene NPP and Belene Nuclear Power Plant 2019; and a Germany-registered company 'Bektron-Liaz-Engineering'.

One Bulgarian company, Grand Energy Distribution, was interested in having a minority stake and also a power purchase agreement, with a second, Atomenergoremont, interested in a minority stake only and a third, European Trade of Energy, in a power purchase agreement only. In addition, North Macedonia had expressed interest in a minority stake and long-term contracts to buy electricity from the Belene plant. Framatome of France and the USA's General Electric had said they were interested in providing equipment and in arranging financing for the project.

In a statement today, the Bulgarian energy ministry said it had now selected those applicants "best suited to the experience of building and investing in nuclear facilities and that have adequate financial capacity to secure the investment and participation obligations of the Belene NPP construction project".

CNNC, Rosatom and KHNP have been selected as potential strategic investors in the project. Petkova said these candidates are "world leaders in the field of nuclear energy and are selected on the basis of their experience, financial stability and credit rating."

Framatome and General Electric, which had both expressed an interest in providing equipment and in arranging financing for the project, have also been selected. Framatome would like to provide safety systems, including electrical, instrument and control systems. General Electric has offered to design and supply equipment including turbines, compressors and transformers.

By the end of January, the shortlisted companies will be invited to submit binding bids.

The government has said it will have a majority stake in the project, which it expects to be completed by 2030, and will not provide state nor corporate guarantees, nor offer to buy electricity from the plant under long-term contracts with preferential rates.

The Belene NPP construction project in northern Bulgaria includes construction of two 1000 MWe units, each using the Russian VVER-1000/V-466 design.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News