Bulgaria’s Minister of Energy Rumen Radev is in talks to sell the equipment for the failed Belene nuclear power plant project to Ukraine’s Energoatom.
The National Assembly in Sofia has voted to begin negotiations with Ukraine on the sale of equipment that was purchased for the unfinished Belene nuclear power plant. According to unnamed sources cited by several media outlets, the two sides are nearing a deal.
The vote was held during the visit of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. The parliament tasked new Minister of Energy Rumen Radev with the talks.
The decision was passed with 155 votes in favor and 57 against. Lawmakers set the minimum price at EUR 602 million. At the same time, they canceled the initiative from 2018 to examine the possibility to complete the Belene project, for which Bulgaria purchased equipment from Russia.
US, EU set to assist Ukraine in purchase
Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said the negotiations are underway, following reports that they already started half a year ago and died down. The equipment would be sold to Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator Energoatom.
Unofficial talks on Belene are said to have begun half a year ago
Bulgaria and the United States have discussed the possibility that the US provides funds to Ukraine for the purchase in the form of aid, the Wall Street Journal learned. Another option is for Bulgaria to get a share in Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant, where the gear would be placed. The European Commission expressed willingness to allow Ukraine to use a part of its financial assistance package for the purpose.
Bulgaria leaning on Kozloduy
US-based Westinghouse Electric Co. signed a contract last month for a new unit at Kozloduy, Bulgaria’s only nuclear power station. The plan is to install an AP1000 reactor.
Westinghouse signed a 10-year agreement in December to supply nuclear fuel for one of the reactors at Kozloduy starting in 2024. Bulgaria has also signed an agreement with France’s Framatom and declared an end to its reliance on Russian nuclear fuel.
Minister Radev’s predecessor Rossen Hristov recently said that the country was preparing to sign a bilateral agreement with the US on cooperation in nuclear energy, and that the document would be adopted by the incoming cabinet.