September 25 (SeeNews) - German energy group RWE is considering pulling out of Bulgaria's Belene nuclear power plant project due to financial and safety concerns, German daily Die Welt reported on Friday.
The number of critical voices on the RWE supervisory board has increased, Die Welt reported, following a board meeting on Thursday.
The key concerns regarding the project have to do with the safety of the Russian nuclear reactors for the future power station, the location of the plant site in a zone considered seismic and the soaring costs, Die Welt (www.welt.de) said.
RWE officials were not immediately available to comment for SeeNews.
RWE and Bulgaria's power grid operator NEK have teamed up in a 49:51 joint venture in the project for the 2,000-megawatt plant to be built by Russia's Atomstroyexport in Belene, on the Danube river.
The value of the construction works is set at around 4.0 billion euro ($5.9 billion) in the contract between NEK and Atomstroyexport. The figure includes an inflation adjustment of the cost but does not include the construction of adjacent infrastructure. The preparation of the construction site started last year but raising funds for the actual construction works has been a key obstacle to further progress on the project.
According to different estimates published in Bulgarian media, the project costs may run up to 6.0 billion or even 10 billion euro.
Belene is expected to help Bulgaria restore its position as leading energy exporter in southeast Europe which it lost after closing down four Soviet-made reactors of 440 megawatts (MW) each at its sole nuclear power plant Kozloduy earlier this decade under pressure from the European Commission.
Kozloduy now operates its two remaining Soviet-made reactors of 1,000 MW each.
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