EU gives thumbs-up to Bulgaria’s new nuclear power plant

BRUSSELS – The European Commission said yesterday it had given a favorable reply to the construction of a new -4 billion nuclear power plant in Bulgaria with capacity of 2,000 megawatts. «The Commission has decided today to give a favorable opinion to the initiative of Natsionalna Elektricheska Kompania (NETC) of Bulgaria to build a new nuclear power plant at the site of Belene,» the EU executive said in a statement. Under Europe’s Euratom treaty, plans for investment in nuclear power must be sent to the Commission, which then reports its views to the European Union country concerned. «The Commission notes in particular that NETC addressed future costs for the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant in its financial provisions as well as segregated funds for the management of radioactive waste emanating from the nuclear plant’s life cycle,» the statement said. The new plant uses technology developed by Russia’s Atomstroiexport, part of gas company Gazprom, which will act as the main contractor with a consortium of Areva in France and Germany’s Siemens as main subcontractors, it said. NETC plans to choose a strategic investor by early 2008 and structure the financing for Belene’s two new 1,000-megawatt reactors, expected to come on line in 2014 and 2015. Italy’s Enel, Germany’s E.ON and RWE, Czech CEZ, and Belgium’s Electrabel owned by French utility Suez filed their initial offers for a 49 percent stake in October.