Shortlisted candidates ready to file bids for Bulgaria’s Belene nuclear project, energy ministry says

By bne IntelliNews February 1, 2020

All shortlisted candidates are ready to file binding bids in the tender to select a strategic investor for the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant, the energy ministry said on January 31.

In December, the ministry invited five companies to file binding offers: China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Russia's Atomenergoprom, a subsidiary of Rosatom, France's Framatome and US-based General Electric.

By the January 31 deadline all five companies had sent letters to confirm they were ready to file binding offers, with CNNC also sending additional questions in order to make a final decision on whether to participate in the tender, the ministry said in a statement.

The deadline for submitting final offers is May 31, 2020.

Bulgaria started planning the new nuclear power plant long before the current emphasis on reducing carbon emissions began. Plans to build the Belene NPP were scrapped in 2012, but Sofia was forced to reconsider after Bulgaria was ordered to reimburse over €600mn to Atomstroyexport (a unit of Russia’s Rosatom), which had won the contract to build the power plant and had already started work.

The government in Sofia hopes to finish the project within 10 years at a cost of up to €10bn.

Framatome and General Electric were selected as they have proposed to supply equipment for the project and arrange its financing.

General Electric is interested in structuring the project’s financing and to participate as a designer and a supplier of equipment for turbine control room, compressors, transformers and other pieces of equipment. Framatome wants to participate in the structuring of the project’s financing for safety systems, including electrical ones as well as control systems.

Neighbouring North Macedonia has said it was interested in acquiring a minority stake in Belene and signing an electricity purchasing agreement. An interest in minority participation in the NPP was also received from Bulgarian companies Atomenergoremont AD and Grand Energy Distribution EOOD.

 

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