The site for the proposed Belene nuclear power station in northern Bulgaria. Photo courtesy Belene Municipality. Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom has signed two agreements with France’s Framatome and US-based General Electric Steam Power in relation to the investor selection procedure for the Belene nuclear power station project in northern Bulgaria.

Rosatom said that the three companies will cooperate in taking part in the eventual tender for the construction of two nuclear power units at the Belene site.

According to a statement, if Rosatom becomes an investor in the project, GE would become a partner by delivering its Arabelle turbine-generator set and turbine hall equipment, while Framatome would be a “key partner” to supply instrumentation and control systems.

Rosatom first deputy head Kirill Komarov said the agreements underline a “high level of trust” between the three companies and international cooperation would help create “the best financial and technical conditions” for the realisation of the Belene project.

In December 2019, Bulgaria invited five companies to submit binding offers in the tender to choose an investor for Belene. The companies were China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), Russia’s Atomenergoprom, a subsidiary of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, France’s Framatome and GE.

Rosatom, CNNC, and KHNP were invited to bid as investors in the project, while Framatome and GE were offered the opportunity to supply equipment for the project.

The Belene facility, estimated to cost about €10bn, could be operational in 10 years. Bulgaria plans to choose investors to build and operate two Russian-made VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor units at the site on the Danube River.

Bulgaria, which has two commercial nuclear plants at the Kozloduy nuclear station, ordered the two Russian reactor units for Belene in 2008, but the project was cancelled in 2012 because of financial and political considerations.

In June 2018, the government formally revived the project following a vote in parliament.

A 2016 arbitration settlement awarded Bulgaria most of the nuclear equipment already produced by Russia for Belene under the 2008 agreement.

Date: Friday, 19 June 2020
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