Russia delays Bulgaria nuke plant project

June 22, 2009 at 12:44 PM
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SOFIA, Bulgaria, June 22 (UPI) -- Russia is going over details before granting Bulgaria a $5.4 billion loan to build a nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube River, Sofia officials said.

Bogomil Manchev of the Bulgarian Risk Engineering consultant company said the loan Russia has already promised Bulgaria will be granted in six months at the earliest, the Bulgarian Sofia news agency SNA reported Monday.

The Russian Ministry of Finance is working out conditions for granting Bulgaria the loan, which in turn is to be accepted by the Bulgarian government, Manchev told the Bulgarian Pari daily newspaper.

Originally, Bulgaria was planning to begin construction of the two 1,000-megawatt reactors nuclear power plant at Belene early this year.

The global financial crisis has hampered Bulgarian efforts to obtain a loan from international commercial banks and the southeastern European nation instead turned to the Russian government for funding.

The $5.8 billion Belene plant will use two third-generation, light-water reactors to be built by the Russian company Atomstroyexport.

Ivan Atanasov, chairman of a working group coordinating the Belene project, said Bulgaria is now awaiting a Russian letter with conditions and the exact amount of the loan, SNA said.

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