From: Associated Press
Published February 2, 2006 12:00 AM

Two Consortiums Bid for Construction of Bulgaria's Second Nuclear Plant

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgaria's government was expected Wednesday to announce the bids for construction of a euro2 billion (US$2.4 billion) nuclear plant.

Two consortiums -- led by the Czech Skoda company and Russia's Atomstroyexport -- have met the requirements of more than US$5 billion, or about euro4.1 billion, in annual turnover and experience in the construction and commissioning of water-pressurized nuclear reactors.

The Russian-led consortium includes France's FRAMATOME, and Germany's Siemens. The other consortium includes Skoda, the U.S. Citibank and Italy's Unicredito bank groups.

Last May, the government put out a call for bids for construction of the country's second nuclear plant in the Danube port of Belene, 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of Sofia.

Plans include the construction of two 1,000 megawatt pressurized water nuclear reactors.

The negotiations with the two companies will begin after an evaluation of the bids and the winner will be announced within six months.

The government had invested more than US$1 billion (euro830 million) in the Belene project, but froze it in 1990 after environmentalists said it could pose a safety risk.

Opponents of the project claim the construction site is earthquake-prone and that a question of storing spent nuclear fuel has not been resolved.

The government, however, revived the project citing increasing demand for electricity after the closure of two aging units at the country's only nuclear plant in Kozlodui, which the Balkan country agreed to shut under its entry treaty with the European Union.

Source: Associated Press

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