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Bulgaria trying to get private investors for its nuclear project

Bulgaria Seeks Private Investors for Nuclear Project, US News,  May 11, 2017, SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria is seeking private investors to build a nuclear power plant on the Danube River, which was canceled five years ago, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

Sofia canceled the Belene project in 2012 after failing to find foreign investors and under pressure from Brussels and Washington to limit its energy dependence on Russia………It hopes to privatize the nuclear plant project after it paid more than 600 million euros ($652 million) in compensation to Russia’s state nuclear giant Rosatom when it canceled the 10 billion euro project. Rosatom had agreed to provide the nuclear reactors…….


May 12, 2017 Posted by | Bulgaria, business and costs | Leave a comment

Bulgaria pays compensation damages to Russia, for scrapping Belene nuclear plant

Bulgaria’s NEK settles arbitration damages for shelved Belene nuclear plant Bulgaria’s state-owned electric utility NEK has paid 601.6 million euro in damages to Atomstroyexport, the foreign contracts subsidiary of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova said on December 9 during question time in Parliament.

The money was transferred into Atomstroyexport’s accounts on December 8, Petkova said.

In a statement, Atomstroyexport confirmed receipt of the funds and was satisfied with the fact that NEK disbursed its commitments in full under the terms of an agreement signed in October, which saw the Russian company drop the daily penalty interest as long as NEK paid the principal owed by December 15.

The accumulated amount of daily penalties would have reached 23.8 million euro by that date. NEK’s agreement with Atomstroyexport also saw the Russian company accept a 20.9 million euro deduction in the original amount of damages ordered by arbitration, following several objections raised by the Bulgarian side to the calculation methodology.

Atomstroyexport was picked to build two 1000MW nuclear reactors at Belene on the Danube River, a project that was shut down by Bulgaria in 2012. The Russian contractor filed for arbitration, asking for 1.2 billion euro in damages for equipment ordered for the nuclear power plant, which NEK never paid for, and won the court action in June, although it was awarded just over half of the amount it claimed.

NEK decided not to appeal the ruling in September after Parliament passed a bill on September 28 that authorised a cash injection from the state Budget to NEK to pay the damages awarded by the tribunal.

The delay in the disbursement was due to the fact that Bulgaria was waiting for the European Commission to rule on whether such a transfer was allowed under the EU’s state aid rules. The Commission gave its approval earlier this week, according to reports in Bulgarian media.

NEK will now take ownership of the equipment manufactured by Atomstroyexport, but uncertainty remains about what the company will do next. Bulgarian officials travelled to Iran earlier this year to discuss a possible sale of the equipment, but there has been no development in the months since then.

Speaking to reporters in Parliament on December 9, Petkova said the Belene assets – the site itself and the equipment from Atomstroyexport – could be spun off into a separate company that would be put up for privatisation.

“If there is [investor] interest, then the [Belene nuclear power plant] project could be carried out on a market basis. If there is no investor interest, we will go in another direction and seek other options,” she said, as quoted by Bulgarian National Radio.

December 10, 2016 Posted by | Bulgaria, business and costs, politics | Leave a comment

China’s global nuclear marketing drive -= now looking to Bulgaria

nuclear-marketing-crapChina eyes nuclear project in Bulgaria A delegation from the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the country’s largest state energy company, visited Sofia and met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, to possibly resuscitate a shelved nuclear power plant project.The Belene nuclear power plant, situated near the Danube, was frozen in 2012, reportedly due to a lack of funds.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Bulgaria, China, marketing | 1 Comment

Bulgarian prosecutors charge former economy and energy minister over botched nuclear power project

legal costsBulgarian ex-energy minister charged over nuclear project   17 Nov 16, Bulgarian prosecutors charged former economy and energy minister Rumen Ovcharov on Thursday with mismanagement that led to state losses of more than 190 million euros ($200 million) related to a canceled nuclear power project with Russia’s Atomstroyexport.

Bulgaria canceled the 10-billion-euro Belene project on the Danube River in 2012 after failing to find foreign investors and under pressure from Brussels and Washington to limit its energy dependence on Russia.

An arbitration court has ruled Bulgaria needs to pay over 600 million euros in compensation to Atomstroyexport over the project, which analysts and politicians say reflects widespread corruption in the Balkan country.

Prosecutors charged Ovcharov, energy minister from 2005 to 2007 in a Socialist-led government, for failing to exercise sufficient control over the executive directors of state energy company NEK and allowing them to sign a deal with Atomstroyexport for the nuclear power plant at Belene.

The prosecutors said that in November 2006 NEK’s chief executives signed a 193 million euro agreement with the Russian company to start work on the project in breach of public procurement laws and before the plant’s financing was agreed.

Prosecutors have already pressed similar charges against Ovcharov’s successor, former economy and energy minister Petar Dimitrov.

 Last month the former directors of NEK, Lubomir Velkov and Mardik Papazian, were charged with causing financial damage by signing another deal with Atomstroyexport, costing the business more than 77 million euros.

Ovcharov has previously denied any wrongdoing. He was not immediately available for comment.

 Prosecutors are expected to charge Delyan Dobrev, energy minister in the centrist government of Boiko Borisov, for failing to take steps to stop payments to a consultant company engaged with the Belene project after it was canceled. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Adrian Croft/Ruth Pitchford)

November 18, 2016 Posted by | Bulgaria, Legal | Leave a comment

Bulgaria has to quickly pay up for cancelled Belene nuclear project

Russia demands swift payment for canceled Bulgarian nuclear plant  , Reuters, 10 Sept 16 Russian nuclear company Rosatom has asked Bulgaria to swiftly pay 620 million euros ($696 million) in compensation over the canceled Belene nuclear project, it said on Saturday.

An arbitration court ruled in June that Sofia must pay for the equipment produced by Rosatom for the project, which Bulgaria abandoned in 2012 due to financial constraints and concerns in Brussels and Washington over its energy dependence on Russia…….Bulgaria’s prime minister has said that the compensation, estimated by Sofia at about 560 million euros, will be paid in full and quickly, to avoid paying interest of 167,000 euros a day.

Bulgaria is considering selling the 2,000 megawatt nuclear project to private investors, keeping a small state stake in it, after its attempt to sell the equipment to Iran did not succeed.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Alexander Smith)

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Bulgaria, business and costs | Leave a comment

Bulgaria seeks solution for costly blowout for Belene nuclear power plant

Bulgaria seeks least worst outcome for Belene nuclear fiasco BME IntelliNews,  By Clare Nuttall in Bucharest August 25, 2016 More than two months after an international court ruled Bulgaria must compensate Russia’s Atomstroyexport for work carried out on the Belene nuclear power plant, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government is still struggling to find ways to minimise the financial damage from the project, which was cancelled back in 2013.

A Geneva-based court under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce ruled on June 16 that Bulgaria’s state National Electricity Company (NEK) must pay €550mn to Atomstroyexport, a unit of Rosatom, for the nuclear reactor the Russian company has already produced.

While the figure is lower than the €1.2bn sought by Atomstroyexport, it is a substantial sum for Sofia, when taken in combination with the €708mn Bulgaria has already sunk into the project. In addition, Bulgaria faces a bill of around €170,000 in penalty interest per week.

In an analyst note issued after the ruling, Timothy Ash of Nomura wrote that the order to pay compensation was a “significant blow to Bulgaria, with a cost of well over 1% of GDP eventually likely to fall on public finances”.

The options for the Bulgarian government are limited; far from finding the optimal solution for the country, it is a case of searching for the least costly and damaging outcome……..

White elephant

The third option put forward by Sofia is instructing the country’s privatisation agency to sell the project to private investors, who would then complete it with the help of the state. Again, it is questionable how realistic this is – there have long been doubts as to whether Bulgaria needs additional generation capacity. However, on August 24 Novinite reported that Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova had met with representatives of China General Nuclear power Group (CGN) to discuss Belene, reportedly at the request of the Chinese company………

Reviving the project could therefore be a case of throwing good money after bad, as Sofia invests yet more money only to end up with a costly white elephant power plant. This is the argument put forward by Greenpeace Bulgaria, which campaigned against Belene together with several other environmental NGOs.

“The government is trying to find a pretty way out of the situation but in reality there is no accountability for the over €1bn spent on this project,” Greenpeace Bulgaria spokesperson Denitza Petrova told bne IntelliNews. She claims that Belene “has never been economically viable … There will be no private investor in it as it is risky and useless, and will not pay off the investment.”……..

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Bulgaria, business and costs, politics | Leave a comment

Bulgaria hoping for private investors to revive Belene nuclear power project

Bulgaria to revive Belene nuclear power project with private help Bulgaria wants private investors to help it restart the Belene nuclear power project after a court ruled Sofia must pay hefty compensation to Russia over equipment ordered for it, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said on Friday.

The Balkan country had canceled the 2,000 megawatt project on the Danube River in 2012 due to financial constraints and after pressure from Brussels and Washington, who said it would only increase Bulgaria’s dependence on Russian energy imports.

An international arbitration court ruled in June that Sofia should pay more than 550 million euros ($623 million) in compensation to Russian nuclear giant Rosatom over the two nuclear reactors ordered.

“We have a very changed situation,” Borisov told local media. “We are obliged to pay for these two reactors.”

Borisov, however, said that the Black Sea state still does not have enough financial resources to build the nuclear plant.”Let us make it a private project through the privatization agency with various options for the state’s share. This is the solution,” he said.

Bulgaria had been hoping to sell the equipment or the whole project to Iran and Borisov visited Tehran in July to test the ground for a possible deal, for which the consent of Rosatom was also needed. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova and Angel Krasimirov)

August 13, 2016 Posted by | Bulgaria, business and costs, politics | 1 Comment

Bulgaria must pay Russia over cancelled nuclear project, says court.

Court orders Bulgaria to pay Russia over cancelled nuclear project: minister ,  Jun 16, 2016  

An arbitration court has ruled that Bulgarian state energy firm NEK should pay nearly 550 million euros (437.70 million pound) in compensation to Russia‘s Atomstroyexport for a cancelled nuclear power project, Bulgaria’s energy minister said on Thursday.

“NEK received the court’s decision late last night. It is still not handed down officially. In the next days, NEK will approach Atomstroyexport over the decision,” Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova told reporters.

Atomstroyexport had sought more than 1 billion euros at the Paris-based International Court of Arbitration against NEK over the cancellation of the Belene nuclear power plant it had been contracted to build.

NEK teamed up with Atomstroyexport to build two 1,000 megawatt reactors at Belene, on the Danube River at the border with Romania, in 2006.

Sofia abandoned the project in 2012, after it failed to attract investors for the 10 billion euros ($11 billion) scheme and also came under pressure from its Western allies about its energy dependence on Moscow.

Petkova said the court has ruled that NEK should cover the funds the Russian state company had spent to produce equipment for the project, but has rejected claims for additional works and damages from lost profits.

Bulgaria is currently extending the lifespan of its two 1,000 Soviet-made reactors at its Kozloduy nuclear power plant and is looking for an investor to build one more reactor at the same site.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Bulgaria, Legal, Russia | Leave a comment

Bulgaria pulls out of $4bn Westinghouse nuclear deal

nuclear-costs1Bulgaria drops $4bn Westinghouse nuclear deal  Yahoo 7 News, April 1, 2015  Sofia (AFP) – Bulgaria has dropped a deal with US-based firm Westinghouse Electric to build a new reactor at its only nuclear plant because of financial pressures, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced Wednesday.

“We cannot uphold the agreement” which is worth $4 billion (3.8 billion euros), Borisov told parliament, adding that the cash-strapped country was unable to shoulder the costs…….

Westinghouse, a subsidiary of Japanese company Toshiba, had initially planned to take a 30-percent stake in the Kozloduy project, but Bulgarian media reported that it now refused to invest in the deal.

The company has not yet commented on Borisov’s announcement.

In 2012, Bulgaria was forced to drop another project, this time to build two Russian VVER 1,000-megawatt reactors at the planned Belene nuclear plant in the country’s north.

April 4, 2015 Posted by | Bulgaria, business and costs, politics | Leave a comment

Bulgarian government confirms it will not build new nuclear power plant

Failed referendum leaves Bulgaria without nuclear future Rt 31 January, 2013,  A referendum on nuclear energy in Bulgaria failed due to low turnout, and the country’s ruling party has confirmed it will not build a new nuclear plant….. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov confirmed that his ruling center-right GERB party would not resume construction on a nuclear power plant in Belene.

In March 2012, the GERB party scrapped the 2,000-megawatt nuclear plant project, which had been under construction by Russia’s Atomstroyexport since 2008. The Bulgarian government said that the country could no longer afford the plant’s 6.4-billion euro price tag……

Kozloduy’s two operational 1,000-megawatt reactors, designed by the Soviet Union, were modernized in 2005 and 2006 to meet EU safety demands. They will be operable until 2027 and 2032 respectively, at which point Bulgaria will no longer generate nuclear energy.

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Bulgaria, politics | Leave a comment

Low turnout in Bulgaria’s nuclear referendum – invalidates result

Bulgaria nuclear vote ‘invalidated by low turnout’ 27 Jan 13,    A
controversial referendum on whether to build a new nuclear power plant
in Bulgaria appears to have been invalidated by low turnout.

An exit poll put turnout at around 20% – far below the 60% required
for the poll, which was called on the basis of an opposition petition.

The opposition Socialists want the centre-right government to reverse
its decision not to build the plant.

The poll has been seen as a barometer for elections later this year. Continue reading

January 28, 2013 Posted by | Bulgaria, politics | 2 Comments

Bulgaria’s nuclear referendum

Bulgaria: a nuclear referendum October 26, 2012 by Andrew MacDowall High  Pre-election machinations may be behind a decision by Bulgaria’s parliament this week to hold a referendum on a nuclear power plant .

The referendum, to be held in January, follows the government’s March decision to cancel the development of the Danube-side Belene nuclear power plant (NPP), in which Bulgaria had already invested 1.4bn levs ($925m), with one reactor already completed.

The Belene project has been one of the longest-running sagas in Bulgarian politics, first proposed in the 1970s under communism. Construction started in the 1980s but was then halted until 2008, when the government, then dominated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), awarded the construction contract for the 2000MW plant to Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom.

As several energy analysts told beyondbrics at the time of the cancellation, the project had become economically unfeasible, given pressures on the national budget, the spiralling costs (variously estimated at between €4bn and €10bn-plus) and the outlook for power demand, with Bulgaria’s population shrinking and power prices on the rise. Concerns had also been raised about the baleful influence of Russia, which already supplies almost all Bulgaria’s gas…….

In any case, it seems likely that the referendum is declared void. For the vote to be considered valid, the turnout must match the 60 per cent turnout of the last general election, setting a high hurdle of more than 4m voters bothering to cast their ballots. A recent poll suggested that more than 40 per cent of the electorate is unaware that the vote is happening at all. And even if the referendum is in favour, and is validated by turnout, the government is not bound to any timeline for further NPP development.

So: a rather open-ended question on a topic that is hardly constitutionally vital, and indeed regards a project widely seen by experts as dead in the water, put to a referendum which may well be invalid anyway…..

October 27, 2012 Posted by | Bulgaria, politics | Leave a comment

Court action over nuclear plant, Bulgaria versus Russia

Bulgaria takes Russia to court over nuclear plant

* Bulgaria files counter claim against Atomstroyexport

* Says Russian nuclear firm owes it over 60 mln euros

* Decision on Belene plant delayed until April

SOFIA, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Bulgaria has taken Russia’s nuclear company Atomstroyexport to court over delayed payments for equipment it agreed to buy under a deal to build the Belene nuclear power plant, the economy and energy minister said. Continue reading

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Bulgaria, politics international | Leave a comment

Exposure of 4 workers to high radiation

4 Workers Exposed to Strong Gamma Radiation in Southern Bulgaria,  June 17, 2011,Four workers of the Gitava company, based near the Southern Bulgarian town of Stambolyiski, have been exposed to strong gamma radiation.

The accident happened on June 14 and a committee was subsequently assigned to investigate the matter, the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulation Agency announced.Gitava specializes in supplying and recharging gamma-ray therapeutic equipment for the treatment of cancer patients…..

June 18, 2011 Posted by | Bulgaria, safety | Leave a comment

Warning against Russia’s plan to develop nuclear power in Bulgaria

Bulgaria: Russia-Backed Nuclear Project in Bulgaria ‘Pig in a Poke’ – – Sofia News Agency, 11 April 11, The plans for a new Russia-backed nuclear plant in northern Bulgaria aim to help Moscow lay its hands on the energy market, impose a monopoly on the prices and keep them high, a right-wing leader has said.”We are now buying a pig in a poke, which is flying on a Russian plane,” Ivan Kostov, former prime minister and leader of the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, told Nova TV broadcast on Sunday….
Kostov says boosting the capacity of renewable energy sources is the answer. Continue reading

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Bulgaria, politics international | Leave a comment