Bulgaria's NEK to get government loan to help pay €620mn Belene nuclear project debt

Bulgaria's NEK to get government loan to help pay €620mn Belene nuclear project debt
By bne IntelliNews September 20, 2016

The Bulgarian cabinet has approved a bill envisaging an increase in the budget of the energy ministry to pay the obligations of state-owned National Electricity Company (NEK) connected with the cancelled Belene nuclear power plant project, a statement on the cabinet’s website said on September 20.

In June, an arbitration court in Geneva ruled that NEK has to pay up to €620mn to Russia’s Atomstroyexport, a unit of Rosatom, for equipment already produced for the Belene project. The Belene power plant was to be located on the Danube River and was planned to have two 1,000 MW reactors. The Bulgarian side is also currently being charged a daily penalty interest of €167,000.

An undisclosed amount of funding will be extended to NEK in the form of an interest-free unsecured loan. The company will receive the aid after approval from the European Commission.

On September 10, Rosatom insisted that the debt must be settled soon.

Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said that the exact amount owed was €629mn as of September 20. If no payment is made, the debt amount will reach €646.2mn by the end of the year.

The minister added that the Bulgarian side has objections to the amount of the interest that have been filed with the arbitration court. On September 16, a Bulgarian-Russian intergovernmental commission reached an agreement on the repayment of the full amount of the principal of €400mn, Capital Daily reported.

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