1 March 2010 - Russia could be on the verge of taking a controlling share of Bulgaria's Belene nuclear power plant only days after Bulgaria turned down the offer of a EUR2bn ($2.7bn) loan from Rosatom to finance the construction of the plant.
According to Rosatom head Sergei Kiryenko, Russia is planning instead to invest EUR1.9bn in the project over the next two years. The funding would be provided on the understanding that the investment would be made on a temporary basis, but if the Bulgarian government was unable to find another investor, then Russia would become a stakeholder taking up to a potential 80 per cent share in the station.
This would mean that Belene could effectively become the first foreign nuclear power plant to be owned by Russia. According to Bulgarian news agency Novinite, Russia will insist that it holds at least a 50 per cent stake in the planned 2 GW Belene nuclear plant on the Danube River in exchange for the EUR1.9bn loan.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria's new centre-right government, which has put the Belene under review due to rising costs, announced a tender for a new consultant after German utility RWE walked out of the project due to funding problems and Sofia decided to redesign it to attract new investors.