Bulgarian, Russian energy ministers agree on project company for Belene nuke.

By bne IntelliNews February 22, 2010
Bulgarian energy and economy minister Traycho Traykov and Russian energy minister Sergey Shmatko decided that a project company for the construction of the 2,000 MW nuclear plant in the Danube town of Belene should be set up during Shmatkos visit in Bulgaria last week, the government informs through its website. The company will finance the project until a strategic investor is selected to speed the works on the project in the next 18 months. Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom will provide funds to the project company of EUR 350-450mn this year and EUR 1-1.5bn next year without state or corporate guarantees on the part of Bulgaria . The future strategic investor will repay part of the financing. Bulgaria will contribute with the assets on the construction site and the prepared consultancy services. The company is to be established by end-March. Separately, the state-run Bulgarian Energy Holding opened a competition for selecting a consultant to restructure the project and make it attractive to the business . Candidates are invited to submit offers by March 25. The consultant should be selected by mid-June. The consultant will have the following responsibilities: to prepare a concept for the project development, to update the economic model, to prepare and conduct a procedure to select a strategic investor, to support the restructuring of the project, to support the preparation of communication strategy and measures to guarantee the transparency of the project.

In February 2008, Russia s AtomStroyExport, part of Rosatom, signed EUR 4bn contract to build the plant, but later estimated that the construction and the launch of the two units will cost up to EUR 6bn. In October, Germany s energy company RWE, which was controlling 49% in the company that will administer the construction works and operate the Belene plant, withdrew from the project due to difficulties as a result of the world financial and economic crisis and failure to complete two stages of the project.

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