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Bulgaria delays deadline for Belene nuclear project bids

SOFIA, March 22 (Reuters) - Bulgaria will give more time for shortlisted investors to file binding bids for its Belene nuclear power project after measures over the coronavirus outbreak have limited access to the project’s data room, the energy minister said on Sunday.

Russia’s Rosatom, China’s CNNC and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co had to file their offers to invest in the estimated 10 billion euro ($10.7 billion) project by the end of April.

French energy company EDF’s Framatome and U.S. group General Electric, which had both offered to provide equipment for the 2,000 megawatt project and arrange financing, will also be part of the process.

“At the moment we cannot provide access to the data room for the project. So we would have to extend the deadline for filing bids until we can grant such access,” Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said. “It would mean a delay of a month, month and a half.”

She added that all shortlisted bidders remain interested.

Sofia has revived the Belene project to make use of two nuclear reactors it bought for more than 620 million euros from Rosatom in compensation for scrapping the original project in 2012. It plans to have the project operational in 10 years. ($1 = 0.9351 euros) (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova Editing by David Goodman)