Russia agreed Friday to put up to euro1.9 billion ($2.6 billion) for the construction of a stalled nuclear plant project in Bulgaria until a strategic investor is chosen and held out the possibility of taking a stake in the project.
Sergei Kiriyenko, CEO of the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, said after talks with Bulgarian officials that Russia would lend up to euro400 million ($540 million) this year and a further euro1.5 billion ($2.06 billion) in 2011 to keep the 2,000-megawatt project at Belene going.
"Freezing it now will be expensive as most of the equipment has already been produced and a lot has been invested to build the foundation of the plant," Kiriyenko told reporters. He added that Russia can if necessary take a stake.
"Part of the money will be invested on a temporary basis and the future investor will pay them back. The other part we are ready to invest in a stake, the volume of which is up to the Bulgarian government to decide," Kiriyenko said.
Construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant, with two 1,000 MW Russian-made reactors, has been frozen for lack of funding.
Last year, Germany's RWE AG, selected as a strategic partner in a 49-51 joint venture with the National Electric Company to build and operate the facility, withdrew from the project.
Bulgaria already operates a 2000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Kozlodui.