Bulgaria’s NEK settles €600mn debt to Russia’s Atomstroyexport over cancelled project

By bne IntelliNews December 9, 2016

Bulgaria’s state-owned National Electricity Company (NEK) has settled in full its €601.6mn debt to Russia’s Atomstroyexport over the cancelled Belene nuclear power plant project, the creditor’s parent Rosatom said in a statement on December 9.

Russia’s Atomstroyexport won the contract to complete the power plant back in 2006, but six years later the project was scrapped by the Bulgarian government. The Belene power plant was to be located on the Danube River and was planned to have two 1,000 MW reactors.

In June, an arbitration court in Geneva ruled that NEK had to pay up to €620mn to Atomstroyexport for equipment already produced. On October 26, the two companies signed an agreement on the final settlement of the €601.6mn debt.

In September, the Bulgarian parliament adopted a law on extending a loan to NEK to pay its obligations to Atomstroyexport. The financing is interest-free and unsecured. The European Commission approved the state loan on December 2, outgoing Minister of Energy Temenuzhka Petkova told the parliament on December 9.

NEK has thus purchased one fully assembled reactor and parts of another, Reuters reported. Both China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) have expressed officially interest in completing the Belene project. According to unofficial information, France’s EDF is also among the potential investors.

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