Friday, February 03, 2006

Eastern Europe/Balkans:

Bids On Bulgaria's Belene Nuclear Plant
02 February 2006

SOFIA NEWS AGENCY (BULGARIA) - Russia's Atomstroiexport and the Czech company Skoda Alliance submitted bids for the design and construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant at Belene located on the Danube River. Bulgaria will announce the winning bidder for the 2 billion euro project in about six months. According to local press reports, however, no matter which company is selected, it will be controlled to some extent by Russian giant Gazprom who's bank recently acquired Skoda JS, which is part of the Skoda Alliance consortium. Gazprombank also owns 51% of the shares of Atomstroiexport, which will use the French company Framatome as a subcontractor. The new NPP project envisions the construction of two Russian-designed VVER reactors of 1,000 megawatts each, the same as those of Units 5 and 6 at the Kozloduy NPP in Bulgaria and at the Czech Temelin NPP.

Source: Reliability: 8.0

Comment: The Belene project was approved last April to offset the drop in electricity output after the shutdown of two 440-megawatt Soviet-era reactors at the Kozloduy in December 2006 and to help sustain Bulgaria's leading position on the regional power market. The project was started in 1986 and then suspended in 1991 due to financial problems and pressure from environmental groups. The first of the two reactors is expected to become operational by 2011; the second by 2013.

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