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Technical project for Bulgaria's Belene n-plant completed

Date: 29.04.2008

The technical project for the construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant of Belene has been completed, announced Tuesday the Vice-president of Russia's state-owned Atomstroyexport Company, Genadiy Tepkyan.

"A joint commission from the two countries is already on the site, doing the transferring actions," he explained.

Some 6,000 Russian employees will join the construction of the plant. A total of 27 experts have already been appointed to an office within the project.

The country's power grid operator NEK, which will own the remaining 51%, said all five bidders left in the race have submitted their improved bids before the January 9 deadline.

Belgian Electrabel and German RWE were short-listed for the second stage of the negotiations with state-owned utility NEK, which is in charge of the selection procedure and will pick a winner.

Czech CEZ, German E.ON and RWE, Belgian Electrabel and Italy's Enel had submitted indicative bids in October last year and put in sweetened offers in January.

Bulgaria's economy ministry has set mid-2008 as the deadline to pick the strategic investor, who will buy 49% in the company that will build and operate Belene nuclear power plant.

The long-awaited EUR 4 B deal that will see Russia's state-owned Atomstroyexport design and build the two twin 1000 M reactors was sealed at the end of January during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Sofia, more than a year after Bulgaria picked the firm.

The total costs of the project are expected to run much higher, to the tune of EUR 6-7 B, and Russia is interested in developing the lucrative project further.

Construction on the two twin 1000 M units is expected to begin in the second half of the year, with 2014 and 2015 as the tentative deadlines for the two reactors to go online.

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