Russia Hopes to Sign Belene NPP Contract This Year

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Russia Hopes to Sign Belene NPP Contract This Year

President Vladimir Putin said Sunday Russia is hoping to sign a contract this year on construction of a nuclear power plant in Bulgaria, as part of cooperation with the Balkan countries in the energy sector, reported RIA Novosti.

In October 2006, Russia's nuclear equipment export monopoly Atomstroyexport won a tender to build a nuclear power plant in Belene. The Balkan state wants to build a second NPP in Belene, 250 kilometers (about 150 miles) from the capital, Sofia, and to modernize the Kozloduy NPP in the north of the country.

"Atomstroyexport has won a tender to build the Belene NPP in Bulgaria. We hope the contract will be signed this year," Putin said at the Balkan energy summit in Croatian capital, Zagreb.

At the end of November last year, Atomstroyexport and Bulgaria's National Electric Company signed a $5.3 billion deal that covers the first phase of the project, involving a detailed examination of facilities and the development of engineering design plans.

The second stage, to begin immediately after the general contract is signed, will provide for a whole range of construction, assembly and launch activities on the site.

The contract will outline the project's implementation terms and its schedule. The Bulgarian National Energy Corporation will finance the construction.

Atomstroyexport is currently building five nuclear power plants in China, India and Iran, under contracts worth a total of $4.5 billion.

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