Bulgaria Minister in US: Belene Nuclear Plant 'Very Painful' Project

Energy | April 6, 2010, Tuesday // 12:39|  views

Bulgarian Economy Minister Traikov and the President and CEO of the US Atlantic Council, Frederick Kempe. Photo by acus.org

Bulgaria hopes to find a strategic investor for the Belene Nuclear Power Plant very shortly, Economy Minister Traicho Traikov has stated during his working visit to the USA.

“The construction of the Belene NPP might start in 2011 if it is possible to execute all planned tasks,” declared Traikov after he presented Bulgaria’s investment potential at a forum organized by the US Atlantic Council, as cited by the Russian agency ITAR-TASS.

Traikov joined the Atlantic Council on April 5 for a Roundtable on Growth, Energy, and Sustainability in Bulgaria and the Region. You can download or listen to an audio podcast of Traikov's participation in the US Atlantic Council roundtable on the AC website AVAILABLE HERE

Traikov has described the Belene project as “very painful” because of the difficulties for its realization that were exacerbated by the global economic crisis, including the withdrawal of the previous strategic foreign investor, Germany’s RWE, in the fall of 2009.

The Bulgarian Minister has made it clear that the government keeps looking for a new investor and even said he hoped to have more clarity on this issue by the end of April 2010.

“If everything goes well, the construction of the Belene plant will start in 2011, and the first electricity from it will be produced in 2014,” he is quoted as saying.

ITAR-TASS reminds that the Russian government is a major proponent of the Belene project and that it is ready to provide close to EUR 2 B in two years in the form of a loan so that the construction of the second Bulgarian NPP is not delayed any longer.

With respect to another Russian-sponsored project in Bulgaria, the South Stream gas transit pipeline, Traikov said it was up to its shareholders to decide when they would form a joint venture for its realization.

The Bulgarian Minister reiterated the government’s position in support of both South Stream and the EU-sponsored Nabucco gas pipeline.

“We have a very constructive partnership with Gazprom within the South Stream project. Nabucco is a wonderful project which has certain problems. But we are counting on the realization of both projects,” stated Traikov.

In mid March, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko met with Bulgarian Parliament Chair Tsetska Tsacheva, and announced that Russia and Bulgaria had reached an agreement for the setting up of a joint venture for the construction of South Stream.

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Tags: Traicho Traikov, Atlantic Council, US, USA, Belene Nuclear Power Plant. Belene NPP, Nuclear Power Plant, South stream, Nabucco, pipeline, gas transit


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