Bulgaria discusses potential sale of nuclear power plant equipment for NPP Belene to Ukraine

Deputies from various political parties in Bulgaria’s parliament have submitted a draft decision to the National Assembly, proposing negotiations with Ukraine for the sale of equipment from Bulgaria’s NPP “Belene.” The proposal, put forth by representatives from GERB, “We Continue the Change,” “Democratic Bulgaria,” and DPS, aims to oblige the Minister of Energy, Rumen Radev, to engage in discussions with Ukraine.

The deputies are advocating for the sale of equipment supplied by “Atomstroyexport” for the NPP “Belene” at a price equivalent to the amount paid by the “National Electric Company” (NEK) under the previous arbitration ruling. This amounts to 601.617 million euros or BGN 1.176 billion.

The draft decision also seeks to overturn a previous ruling that mandated the search for a strategic investor to complete the project. This procedure was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent governments’ focus on the war in Ukraine, initiated by Russia.

If approved, Minister Radev will have a 30-day period to conduct negotiations with Ukraine regarding the sale of the equipment.

It has been previously reported that Ukraine’s interest lies primarily in the steam generators provided to the “Belene” NPP. Ukraine’s company “Energoatom,” which operates nuclear power plants in the country, intends to use the steam generators to replace similar facilities in their aging nuclear power plants with VVER reactors. However, it remains uncertain whether Ukraine is interested in all eight steam generators or only a portion of them.

The Ukrainian embassy in Sofia clarified that their interest is limited to the steam generators and explicitly mentioned no interest in the equipment for the nuclear island, including the reactor cores. They highlighted existing agreements with American companies “Westinghouse” and “NuScale” for the installation of reactors in Ukraine.

Regarding the sale of the steam generators, the Ukrainian embassy emphasized that the deal would depend on the price. The Bulgarian deputies’ current proposal is to sell the equipment as a whole, with the price matching what NEK paid in 2016 after the condemnation by “Atomstroyexport.”

Former Energy Minister Rosen Hristov previously engaged in discussions with the French company “Electricité de France” to explore the feasibility of completing the Belene NPP using the supplied equipment and Western technologies. The objective was to assess the associated costs and determine whether the equipment could be sold to Ukraine.

If the Bulgarian parliament decides to proceed with negotiations, the need for such discussions between Bulgaria and France would become unnecessary.

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