Law Firms Urges Bulgaria for Action on Belene NPP Arbitration Case
Thursday, 19 September 2013
White&Case, the law firm hired by the previous government to defend Bulgaria in an arbitration case with Russia’s Atomstroyexport over the cancellation of the Belene nuclear plant (NPP) project, has asked the energy ministry for urgent action.
In a letter to energy minister Dragomir Stoynev, White&Case warns that Bulgaria’s state-owned National Electricity Company (NEK) is late with engaging experts for the arbitration case, and risks losing it, the Bulgarian News Agency reported.
Atomstroyexport, part of Russia's nuclear monopoly Rosatom, has lodged a claim with the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, seeking some 1.0 billion euro ($1.28 billion) as compensation for Bulgaria's decision to abandon the project for the construction of the Belene NPP. The project had been mothballed for nearly two decades before Bulgaria decided to resurrect it and hired Atomstroyexport in 2008 to build the 2,000 megawatt (MW) facility. After the project made scant headway, in 2012 the government in Sofia decided to abandon it altogether, choosing instead to add a new 1,000 MW reactor to its existing nuclear power station in Kozloduy.
Speaking to reporters in Parliament on Wednesday, former prime minister Boyko Borisov said the government had failed to respond to a call for action made by White&Case in August, news portal Dnevnik.bg reported. According to Borisov, the delay was deliberate, its purpose being that Bulgaria lose the case.
At a news briefing later in the day, energy minister Stoynev denied the claims, saying the Bulgarian authorities had taken all steps to ensure that the country’s interests are protected.