Bulgarian ex-energy minister charged over nuclear project http://www.reuters.com/article/us-bulgaria-nuclear-charge-idUSKBN13C1KP 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.
Ovcharov has previously denied any wrongdoing. He was not immediately available for comment.
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) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-bulgaria-idUSKCN11G0D7
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……..
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.”……..http://www.intellinews.com/bulgaria-seeks-least-worst-outcome-for-belene-nuclear-fiasco-104739/
Bulgaria to revive Belene nuclear power project with private help http://www.reuters.com/article/us-bulgaria-nuclear-idUSKCN10N154 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)
Court orders Bulgaria to pay Russia over cancelled nuclear project: minister http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-bulgaria-russia-arbitration-idUKKCN0Z213A , 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.
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.
Bulgaria nuclear vote ‘invalidated by low turnout’
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21217882 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
Bulgaria: a nuclear referendum Ft.com 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….. http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2012/10/26/bulgaria-a-nuclear-referendum/#axzz2AWxym4na
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
4 Workers Exposed to Strong Gamma Radiation in Southern Bulgaria Novinite.com, 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….. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=129388
Bulgaria: Russia-Backed Nuclear Project in Bulgaria ‘Pig in a Poke’ – Novinite.com – 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
The cable also reports: “When Bulgarians talk about the Belene nuclear power plant, they increasingly do so in hushed tones. Issues of delays, financing woes, non-transparent horse-trading and side deals, Russian influence … and the interests of well-connected politicians and energy oligarchs inevitably come up.”...
WikiLeaks cables: Bulgarian nuclear project ‘dogged by safety concerns’, The Guardian, Tim Webb, 20 December 2010 German firm RWE, which owns npower, bought 49% stake in project that cable claimed ‘reeked of side deals’ One of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers, which wants to build half a dozen nuclear reactors in the UK, helped develop one in Bulgaria which was “dogged by ongoing serious safety concerns”, according to leaked US diplomatic cables. Continue reading
Bulgaria: US Ambassador Questions Feasibility of Belene Nuclear Plant – Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency, 24 Oct 10, US Ambassador James Warlick has expressed misgivings about the feasibility of Bulgaria’s planned second nuclear plant at Belene.”There are two questions that Bulgaria must ask itself – if the Belene NPP is an economically feasible project, and, second, if it provides Bulgaria and the entire region with energy security. I am not sure that there are answers to these questions. We are talking about billions of leva here, and the decisions that will be made with respect to Belene will affect Bulgaria’s energy system for decades to come,” Warlick said on the Bulgarian National Radio Sunday……Bulgaria: US Ambassador Questions Feasibility of Belene Nuclear Plant – Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency
there is no doubt that the renewable energy industry is soaring there.
Keeping Bulgaria Renewable Energy Responsible Green Chip Stocks, By Jeff Siegel , April 7th, 2010“……Since government incentives kicked in over there, new wind, solar and biomass projects have totalled more than 11,000 megawatts. This is huge!Well today, the Bulgarian government announced that it is proposing a ban on building solar and wind farms on quality arable land. Definitely a smart decision on the part of Bulgaria.Certainly the expansion of renewable energy operations is integral to the long-term economic growth of the Balkan country. Continue reading
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