Bulgaria's Energy Minister: No Restart of Belene NPP on June 5

Energy | May 31, 2013, Friday // 19:01|  views

Bulgaria's new Minister of Economy and Energy, Dragomir Stoynev, photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's new Minister of Economy and Energy, Dragomir Stoynev, has rejected claims that the government is planning to restart the Belene NPP on June 5, adding that no political decision on the step has been taken.

Speaking Friday at a sitting of the public council at the Ministry of Economy and Energy, Stoynev noted that the technical and economic analysis of the project had to be updated, taking into account electricity consumption forecasts for the next few years.

The Pik news agency reported Thursday that the Bulgarian Socialist Party was planning to announce a restart of the Belene NPP project on June 5, adding that the annual conference of the Bulgarian Atomic Forum (BULATOM) was scheduled to start on the same day at the Golden Sands resort, taking into account that the chair of the forum, Bogomil Manchev, was a consultant on the scrapped N-plant project.

Citing sources close to Manchev, the news agency claimed that during the conference there would be an announcement of renewal of investment interest by US Quantum Group, behind which billionaires from Asia stood.

In an interview for Nova TV earlier on Friday, Sergey Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), stated that a decision on the Belene NPP project required an analysis which would indicate the pros and cons and the presence of investor interest.

The center-right government of former PM Boyko Borisov scrapped the project for the construction of Belene back in March 2012. The move led Russia's Rosatom to file a suit with an international arbitration court in Paris.

After it was first started in the 1980s, the construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube was stopped in the early 1990s over lack of money and environmental protests.

The Belene NPP has been de facto frozen since the fall of 2009 when the previously selected strategic investor, the German company RWE, which was supposed to provide EUR 2 B in exchange for a 49% stake, pulled out.

Borisov and his Cabinet resigned in February amidst mass protest rallies against unbearable utility bills and wide-spread poverty.

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Tags: Dragomir Stoynev, Belene NPP, Bulgarian Socialist Party, GERB government, Sergey Stanishev, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Quantum Group, Rosatom


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