Restarting Belene

14 January 2010

Bulgaria is picking up the pieces of the Belene new reactor project and will shortly select a leading consultant.


A notice published today by Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) said it aims to begin a new selection process at the end of this month. A new consultant will restructure the project in an 'economically feasible manner'. It will also 'create a concept for a new shareholder structure, which allows the inclusion of new investors and the activities of their choice'.


Subsequent processes run by the consultant will find a strategic investor, while the Bulgarian state would be expected to take a significant holding of perhaps about 20%.


The previous arrangement for the program for two new large reactors, set up by the former government, had selected RWE as a strategic partner alongside a majority government holding. However, the German utility had been unable to find further investors and incoming ministers were puzzled by some of the arrangements they had inherited. Despite finance offers by Russia the scheme was all but wound up in October when RWE pulled out.


Today's announcement did not mention any revision of technology and the latest Russian VVER pressurized water reactors remain the choice. AtomStroyExport has already contracted for some of the major components.


Site preparations continue at Belene, which was planned for nuclear deployment in the 1980s, under the Worley Parsons as architect engineer. That company's relationship with BEH is separate from the forthcoming consultant selection process.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News