Russia may quit Bulgaria nuclear plant: report

8th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia is considering pulling out of a project to build a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bulgaria due to persistent delays, Russian daily Kommersant reported Tuesday.

"Rosatom is considering the possibility of dropping the construction of the nuclear power plant Belene in Bulgaria," the newspaper said, citing an internal memo of state nuclear agency Rosatom.

Rosatom would also demand a compensation of around 200 million euros (272 million dollars) from the Bulgarian energy company due to the delays, the daily said.

Rosatom's subsidiary Atomstroiexport was already contracted in 2008 to build the 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant at Belene, in northern Bulgaria.

But the project has been dogged by failure to attract foreign investors and a dispute over the construction costs.

Construction of the nuclear power plant is supposed to begin by September 2011, but Rosatom says that may not be possible if delays persist, the newspaper reported.

Rosatom confirmed the existence of the memo, but declined to comment further, Kommersant said.

The nuclear power company could also divert the equipment intended for Belene to a new nuclear power plant on Turkey's Black Sea coast, the memo said.

Rosatom says starting construction this October would not be possible if delays persist, the newspaper reported.

In November, Russia and Bulgaria struck a deal which sought to set up the project company for Belene within four months. French consultancy Altran Technologies and Finnish power company Fortum Corporation signed separate agreements agreeing to invest in the project "in principle."

Rosatom estimated the total cost of two-reactor Belene at 6.4 billion euros (8.7 billion dollars).

© 2011 AFP

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