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Serbia Confirms Interest in Investing in Bulgaria's Belene Nuclear Plant
Date: 21/02/2011
Serbia Confirms Interest in Investing in Bulgaria's Belene Nuclear Plant

Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic has confirmed his country's continued interest in acquiring a share of Bulgaria's future second nuclear power plant "Belene".

The economic aspects of Cvetkovic's visit in Sofia on Monday were overshadowed by the incident over the weekend in which Serbian authorities obstructed the remembrance of Bulgarian national hero Vasil Levski by the Bulgarian minority in Serbia.

Bulgarian PM Borisov and Cvetkovic, however, did focus their talks on certain crucial joint projects.

Serbia's Prime Minister has confirmed that Serbia is interested in the construction of the Sofia-Nis highway, in participating in the Russian-sponsored South Stream gas transit pipeline, and in the construction of Bulgaria's second NPP in Belene.

The Bulgarian government press center did not provide any details regarding Serbia's intentions nor could Cvetkovic do so as the PMs' joint press briefing was canceled, apparently because of the protests.

In 2010, Bulgaria, searching investment for its project for a second NPP, invited Serbia, Croatia, and Macedonia to have small shares in the future plan.

Only Serbia appears to have picked up the offer, with President Boric Tadic and Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic confirming Serbia's interest. While Bulgaria offered a share of 1%-2% to Serbia, subsequent reports said Serbia wanted a larger share – 5%-10%.

The exact fate of Serbia's role in Belene remains unclear as Serbian Environment Minister Oliver Dulic has suggested that his country's participation in the project in unfeasible.

Non-binding documents on Belene signed in November 2010 provided for participation in the project of Finnish company Fortum with a share of 1%, and of French company Altran Technologies with a share of 1%-25%. Bulgaria's National Electric Company NEK is to keep a majority share of 51%, while Rosatom is also expected to have a share of 25%.

Serbia has expressed interest in acquiring a share of 5%-10% but the talks for that have not been finalized yet.

Topic: Business

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