HSCB Bank (UK) and Russia push Bulgaria to Construct Belene Nuclear Power Plant

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At  the end of this month the HSBC Bank (UK) will complete assessing the profitability of the building of the Belene nuclear power plant in Bulgaria.   Although an agreement between the Bulgarian National Electric Company and Russia’s engineering company “Atomstroiexport, a sub-unit of the State Corporation Rosatom, was signed in 2006, the actual construction work has not been given the go-ahead due to financial difficulties.

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The Belene Nuclear Power Plant (Bulgarian: Атомна електроцентрала „Белене“) is a nuclear power plant currently under construction 3 km from Belene and 11 km from Svishtov in Pleven Province, northernBulgaria, near the Danube River. It is planned to substitute four VVER-440 V230 reactors of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant that are approaching the end of their service life.

On June 112010, the Bulgarian government announced that it would freeze indefinitely the planned construction of the Belene nuclear power plant because it was uncertain when the investment would be returned.

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“Currently there’s no oversupply of energy in the EU and even less – in the Balkan Region. Therefore, I believe that this project will be repaid. The more so as Russia is ready to sponsor it 100 per cent. In this case, there would be no risks involved for Bulgaria.”

Source: Voice of Russia

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There is controversy over the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which “does not contain adequate information on the seismic conditions, nor does it address beyond design basis accidents or give details of the potential impacts of decommissioning”.  Furthermore, following legal action by environmental groups, the authors of the original EIA confirmed, in court, that it was flawed and would require a new EIA once a designer and builder were appointed. The total cost of the project is now estimated by the operator to be around €7 billion (€4 billion for the power stations plus associated infrastructure development costs).

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