The Bulgarian government is seeking a new strategic European investor for Belene nuclear plant. RWE AG, Germany’s second-largest utility, left the project last autumn over funding problems.

Bulgaria’s contract with Russia’s Atomstroyexport, which was commissioned to build the planned 2000 MW Belene nuclear plant on the Danube River, since stalled over lack of funding, will be extended by six months, according to newspaper reports in the country. The Bulgarian government has said it will pay Russia for the production of the first unit at Belene nuclear power plant only after it finds a strategic investor.

Negotiations between Bulgaria’s National Electricity Company NEK and Russia’s Atomstroyexport are underway, but no agreement has been signed yet.

The first reactor was expected to be built by mid-September for delivery to the site. Bulgaria has to pay an installment of EUR 280 M in addition to EUR 300 M already paid. Bulgaria now aims to limit the cost of the Belene nuclear plant to EUR 7 billion.