Bulgarian energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova said the deadline for submitting offers for becoming strategic investor in the project for construction of Belene nuclear power plant will likely be extended due to the coronavirus crisis.
All five companies which have announced that they intend to submit a binding offer still have interest in the project, Petkova told public radio BNR on Sunday.
Other large projects in the energy sector, such as the Balkan Stream natural gas pipeline and the Greece-Bulgaria natural gas interconnector, are progressing according to plan, Petkova added.
Last year, Bulgaria shortlisted five companies for the 2000-MW Belene project - China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Russia's Atomenergoprom - a subsidiary of Rosatom, France's Framatome, and US-based General Electric. However, Framatome and General Electric had only proposed to supply equipment for the power plant, according to the ministry.
In June 2018, the parliament mandated energy minister Petkova to seek potential strategic investors willing to build a nuclear power plant in Belene - a project abandoned since 2012 which the government aims to revive.
The country plans to build Belene NPP on a market basis, as the state does not intend to sign long-term power purchase agreements with the investor or provide state guarantees. Bulgaria will participate in the project company via a non-monetary contribution - the reactors and other equipment plus the construction site and the respective licences.
In December 2016, following international arbitration, Bulgaria paid some 600 million euro ($642 million) in compensation to Russia's Atomstroyexport for the equipment already manufactured by the company for the project. The equipment is now stored at the site designated for the construction of the power plant.