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Friday, February 29, 2008

Bulgaria to decide on Belene nuclear power plant by end-March

Bulgaria would decide by end-March which of the five bidders interested in acquiring 49 percent of the planned nuclear power plant at Belene will remain in the race, Reuters reported on February 28.

Belgian utility Electrabel, owned by France's Suez, and Germany's RWE are leading the list of favourites for now, Reuters said. Bulgaria has also received offers from Italy's Enel, Germany's E.ON and Czech company CEZ.

"A decision on the short-list is now expected towards the end of March," an unnamed source told Reuters.

“(Bulgaria's state power grid operat National Electricity Company) NEC could not a reach a decision last week," Reuters reported.

Bulgaria wants the 2000 MW plant in the Danube town of Belene to make the country a major electricity exporter in the Balkans again after it was forced to shut communist-era reactors as a condition of joining the European Union.

Nuclear energy accounts for one third of the country’s power needs and the local Government is among the EU countries, which believe nuclear energy is part of the solution to climate change, as proponents say atomic power emits almost no greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters said.

NEC would retain 51 per cent of Belene, which would be built by Russia's Atomstroiexport, controlled by gas company Gazprom, with France's Areva and Germany's Siemens as subcontractors.
(Source: Sofia Echo)

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