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Russia to Temporarily Finance Bulgaria Nuclear Plant Belene

Date: 25.03.2009

Sofia is in talks with Moscow for securing temporary financing for the planned EUR 4.0 B nuclear power plant at Belene, for which Bulgaria contracted Russia's Atomstroyexport.

The statement was made by Russian Energy Minister Sergey Shmatko in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio and confirmed earlier reports.

Speaking to journalists in Brussels, where he joined an international conference on the upgrade of Ukraine gas-transmitting system, Shmatko said Russia and Bulgaria are partners in Belene project, "who trust and understand each other".

"We have agreed to consider the option of temporary financing for the nuclear power plant, before the strategic investor German utility RWE starts to do so," Minister Shmatko said. He added that the Russian companies have been ordered to start the financing in the framework of the Russian state aid for this project.

Russian PM Vladimir Putin said that his country could allot EUR 3.8 B for the Belene NPP when he visited Sofia last year.

Germany's RWE outbid Belgian energy company Electrabel for a 49 percent stake in the 2,000 megawatt plant, which the country is building to restore its position as a leading power exporter in southeastern Europe.

The energy giant was supposed to start financing the project as soon as the joint venture with Bulgaria's National Electric Company was founded. But now RWE bosses say the company will start financing the project only after it is completely structured, which is expected to happen in 2010 at the earliest.

SofiaEcho

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