Southeast Europe’s largest nuclear project lacking EU companies

(EurActiv, 27 Feb 2024) South Korean company Hyundai appears to be the favourite to build units VII and VIII of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant, which is set to become the largest nuclear project in south-east Europe after the Bulgarian parliament ensured that competition was eliminated.

The project does not yet have an exact price, but the government has announced that it will seek a bid of less than $14 billion for the two new AR-1000 reactors, which use technology from US company Westinghouse. This means that electricity from the plant’s new units should cost €65 per megawatt hour, but some nuclear experts say the estimated cost of the reactors is unrealistically low.

Parliament’s decision was taken on Friday after more than three hours of debate. The proposal for the Kozloduy State Nuclear Power Plant to negotiate exclusively with Hyundai Engineering came from two parties in the ruling coalition – GERB (EPP) and DPS (ALDE). Negotiations must now be concluded by 15 April.

GERB and DPS rejected the proposal of the third formation of the ruling coalition, PP-DB, to hold simultaneous negotiations with Hyundai and the US company Bechtel, which works with Westinghouse in the Czech Republic and Poland. PP-DB is motivated by the fact that competition can reduce the project’s cost.

The scales were tipped by just one more vote in favour of Hyundai. In total, 112 votes were cast in favour, 111 against and abstentions.

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EurActiv, 27 Feb 2024: Southeast Europe’s largest nuclear project lacking EU companies