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Russia Willing to Buy Belene Nuclear Plant from Bulgaria

Date: 18.09.2009

Russia is interested in buying all or part of the share of the Bulgarian government at the planned nuclear power plant in Bulgaria's Belene.

This has been announced by Russia's Energy Minister, Sergei Shmatko, as quoted by the RBK Daily, Wednesday, just a day before he is to arrive to Sofia for talks with his Bulgarian counterpart, Traicho Traikov, over the Bulgaria-Russia energy projects.

"We are aware of Bulgaria's position that it might want to sell its 51 % share. We are interested in such an offer because as investors we are interested incontrol over the expenses," Shmatko said without specifying how large a share Russia might want to buy from Bulgaria, and which Russian state-owned companies would do that.

Russia's state-owned company Atomstroyexport has been chosen to build two 1000 MW reactors at Bulgaria's Belene. The Bulgarian government is going to own 51% of the plant; the minority owner will be the German company RWE.

Shmatko also said Wednesday that the issue of how much the construction of the Belene NPP still hadn't been settled. He said Russia had estimates that differed from the EUR 10 B cost mentioned most often by the Bulgarian officials.

Together with the head of the Rossatom company, Sergei Kiriyenko, Shmatko will meet with Traikov and Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, over the Belene NPP, the South Stream gas pipeline, and the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

Shmatko has declared that the Bulgarian leadership must understand that the realization of the three projects would turn the country into an energy hub for Southern Europe.

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