December 9, 2016 / 12:35 PM / 2 years ago

Russia's Rosatom settles deal with Bulgaria over cancelled nuclear project

SOFIA, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Russian company Rosatom announced on Friday it has received 620 million euros ($660 million) from Bulgarian energy firm NEK in compensation over a cancelled nuclear project.

Bulgaria cancelled the Belene project on the Danube River after failing to find foreign investors and under pressure from Brussels and Washington to limit its energy dependence on Russia.

An international arbitration court ruled in June that Bulgaria should pay compensation for nuclear equipment it ordered from Rosatom before cancelling the 10 billion euro project in 2012.

Rosatom is satisfied with the payment, it said in a statement, and won’t seek interest worth some 24 million euros because it has been paid before a Dec. 15 deadline.

Bulgaria will now get one fully assembled nuclear reactor and parts of a second one. It is considering opening a tender for investors to install the equipment at Belene.

On Wednesday, outgoing Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said three companies, including China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), have expressed interest in the project.

Sofia wants to privatise the project without offering long-term power purchase agreements. If that option fails, Bulgaria may seek to sell the nuclear equipment it has paid to Russia. ($1 = 0.9438 euros) (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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