Russian Ambassador: Bulgaria's Belene NPP to Be Built

Energy | April 23, 2011, Saturday // 17:49|  views

Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria Yuriy Isakov, has been a strong advocate of Russian energy projects in Bulgaria. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian Belene NPP will surely be constructed, the Russian Ambassador to the Balkan country, Yuriy Isakov, declared Saturday.

He was positive that the project is safe and financially rational.

"I am 100% sure that Belene NPP will be constructed. The project is beneficial for Bulgaria, Russia and Europe. It will provide clean, cheap and stable energy, that is why I am so enthusiastic. We are absolutely calm," Isakov told the Russian NTV, according to the Bulgarian 24 chasa daily.

The energy the Belene NPP will produce will fully cover the financial investment and it will secure at least EUR 8 B in state budget revenues, Isakov stated. The Nuclear Power Plant will also create 80 000 jobs, the Ambassado pointed out.

Isakov further claimed that the plant's third generation reactors are equipped with an unique system for active and passive safety.

Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of the Russian Rosatom company, has voiced its firm intentions to build the Belene NPP for a fixed price of EUR 6.298 B - stipulated in the Bulgarian-Russian memorandum of understanding signed in November 2010 - or for a base price of EUR 3.997 B plus escalation or inflation costs - stipulated in the intergovernmental agreement signed in January 2008.

According to the "Atomstroyexport" Vice President, the price is the only hurdle for the project, blaming Bulgaria's National Electric Company (NEK) of dragging on in announcing what exactly it is ready to pay.

In March, the Bulgarian centrist-right GERB Cabinet put the fate of the troubled Belene project in the hands of the UK-based bank HSBC, which was selected as a consultant to made a final pronouncement on whether the project will be economically feasible for Bulgaria or not. HSBC, however, is supposed to come up with such an appraisal in a very short time - by June 1, 2011, under the latest Bulgarian-Russian document; what is more, critics say the contract with bank is framed in a way enticing it to declare the project feasible in order to get a large commission.

On Wednesday, the Russian newspaper Komersant reported that Bulgaria faces being taken to arbitration by the Russian contractor Rosatom over the nuclear plant project in Belene as it is likely to miss the July 1 deadline for signing a final agreement for its construction.

Also Wednesday, Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, announced after the cabinet's meeting that the final decision on Belene will be made by the Parliament.

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Tags: safety, GERB, Rosatom, Atomstroyexport, Belene NPP, Yuriy Isakov, energy


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