Sofia´s Novinite reported on September 21, 2016, that Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova has said the state is yet to consider its options to use the nuclear reactor and equipment procured for the ditched Belene nuclear plant (NPP) project which it now has to pay.
In an interview with the Bulgarian National Television, she has underlined that Sofia could launch a privatization procedure for both the reactor and the construction site for Belene NPP, alongside all permits previously issued for the projects. This could be done by setting up a project company, she has elaborated.
«Then, as it is being said, the project turns viable, if investors are found, it will be carried out,» according to Petkova.
She has underlined that the project will be pursued only if it turns out «well-founded» from the economic perspective.
Bulgaria abandoned the construction of Belene NPP in February 2012, under current Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's previous government.
In June of this year, the country lost an arbitration suit brought by Atomstroyexport, the company that was building the reactor and equipment for the project, which insisted the country should pay for what has already been produced.
On September 20, 2016, she called for the immediate payment of nearly EUR 630 mln (the principal, determined by the arbitration ruling, and the interest) to avoid destabilization of the energy system.
In Petkova's words, a green light for the payment would stop the accumulation of interest, with «a million BGN [nearly EUR 0.5 mln] being piled up on the bill of NEK every 3 days».
«We are running the risk that they might turn into a danger to the financial stability of NEK. If we don't deliver on the ruling of the international arbitration, Atomstroyexport [might] demand that NEK be declared insolvent. This will be a critical situation for Bulgarian energy.»
Petkova has also defended Borisov's move to stop the project as it «would have generated additional expenses and as of today the bill had been much bigger.»