Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov said on February 19 that he would not authorise a loan from Russia to continue construction on Belene nuclear power plant.
Speaking to Bulgarian National Radio, Dyankov said: "I will not allow state guarantees [for a loan], our Budget would not survive it, nor do we need it."
"If there are other financial options being discussed today, but not only with Russia, also with European partners, then it can be interesting. But Bulgaria will not tie itself down with a loan from Russia, we have no way of servicing that in the Budget," he said.
Dyankov's statement comes on the day that Russian energy minister Sergey Shmatko made his third visit in five months to Sofia, accompanied by the head of Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Sergey Kirienko.
It was expected that the two Russian officials would meet with Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Traicho Traikov to discuss the details of the offer reportedly made by Kirienko in Sofia a week earlier, namely that Rosatom lends two billion euro to Bulgaria to continue construction on Belene, in exchange for a stake of 30 to 35 per cent in the future plant.
Rosatom subsidiary Atomstroyexport is contracted to build the two 1000MW light-water reactors at Belene for four billion euro. Work on the project has been put on hold over lack of funding and also to allow Bulgaria to draft a new strategy for the project and seek new strategic investors, after RWE pull out in 2009 from the agreement to buy 49 per cent.
The new strategy would be drafted by a newly-picked consultant. The deadline in the tender to choose the new adviser is March 2010 and a contract is expected to be signed by June, website mediapool.bg said.