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Dec 07, 2007 11:38 EEST
December 7 (SeeNews) - The European Union executive on Friday said it agrees to a project for the construction of a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bulgaria.
"The Commission has decided today to give a favourable opinion to the initiative of [national power grid operator] Natsionalna Elektricheska Kompania (NEK) of Bulgaria to build a new nuclear power plant at the site of Belene," the European Commission said in a statement.
A positive opinion by the European Commission on the planned investment is one the conditions for its fulfillment.
Last year, Bulgaria's power grid operator awarded a 3.99 billion euro ($5.8 billion) deal to Atomstroyexport to build the nuclear power plant in Belene, on the Danube river. Construction works are planned to start next year. The first of the future plant's two reactors of 1,000-MW each should go online by January 2014.
Bulgaria, which joined the EU on January 1, hopes that the Belene plant will make up for the generating capacity and power exports the country lost after closing down a second pair of Soviet-built reactors of 440 MW each at its sole Kozloduy nuclear power plant at the end of 2006. The country closed the first pair of 440-MW reactors at Kozloduy in 2002 under pressure from the European Union. Now Kozloduy operates its two remaining nuclear reactors of 1,000 MW each.
In October, five European majors filed preliminary bids to become strategic investors and acquire up to 49% of the company that will build and operate the Belene plant. The remaining 51% will remain with NETC.
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