Bulgaria shortlists GE, others for nuclear plant contract

Bulgaria has shortlisted General Electric and four other foreign companies as candidates to build a new nuclear power plant in the Balkan country

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Bulgaria has shortlisted General Electric and four other international companies as candidates for a contract to build a new nuclear power plant in the Balkan country.

General Electric is working with France’s Framatome in their application to finance and supply equipment for the 2,000-megawatt plant near Belene on the Danube River.

Confidential agreements with the companies are due to be signed next month, the minister said, adding that Bulgaria wants to keep a blocking stake in the venture but it will not provide state guarantees or offer to buy electricity from the plant.

But Bulgaria had already received two prepaid 1,000 megawatt reactors from Russia’s Atomstroyexport and subsequent attempts to sell off the equipment failed, which led to last year’s vote in parliament to revive the project.

Currently, the Balkan country’s only nuclear plant, at Kozloduy, with two Soviet-built 1,000 megawatt reactors, supplies 35% of the country’s electricity.