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7 groups interested in investing in Bulgaria nuclear project

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) - Seven international groups have expressed interest in becoming strategic investors in the construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant, the country's energy minister said Tuesday.

Temenuzhka Petkova said that applications for investing in the 10 billion-euro ($11 billion) project have been filed by Russia's Rosatom, China's CNNC, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co and Czech Vitkovice Heavy Machinery, along with two Bulgarian bidders and a German-registered company.

General Electric and France's Framatome have also declared interest in financing and supplying equipment for the 2,000-megawatt plant near Belene on the Danube River. Bulgaria had abandoned the project in 2012 after failing to find investors and bowing to Western pressure to lessen its almost total energy dependence on Russia.

But Bulgaria had already received two prepaid 1,000 megawatt reactors from Russia's Atomstroyexport and subsequent attempts to sell off the equipment failed, which led to last year's vote in parliament to revive the project.

Petkova said that no state or corporate credit guarantees or preferential electricity buy-out prices will be offered to the participants. She added that the government will shortlist candidates within the next 90 days and ask them to file binding bids.

Currently, the Balkan country's only nuclear plant, at Kozloduy, with two Soviet-built 1,000 megawatt reactors, supplies 35% of the country's electricity.

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