Russia seeks to unfreeze nuclear plant project in Bulgaria

13th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia tried Saturday to unfreeze a long-stalled project for a new 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in northern Bulgaria, reiterating readiness to fund the project directly or through loans.

"Russia has the finances and readiness to implement the Belene nuclear power plant project in a way that will suit the Bulgarian side to the maximum, either through ensuring funding, loans, or equipment," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said after talks in Sofia.

Bulgaria already contracted Russia's Atomstroyexport to build the plant but lack of clarity about the project's total cost and the withdrawal last year of German utility RWE, which held a 49-percent stake in the plant, has forced Sofia to mull dropping the deal unless it finds a new strategic investor.

"We presented final figures (about the estimated cost of the plant) and now the Bulgarian experts need to assess them and give us their response," Putin said Saturday.

But he refused to go into details, saying that the figures could only be disclosed after approval by the Bulgarian side.

Russia offered in February to finance the construction of Belene's two 1,000-megawatt reactors by as much as 2.0 billion euros (2.8 billion dollars) but Bulgaria insisted on finding a new strategic partner before continuing construction.

© 2010 AFP

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