December 19, 2019 / 1:51 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Bulgaria invites Russia, China and S. Korea to invest in its nuclear project

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SOFIA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Bulgaria will invite Russia's Rosatom, China's CNNC and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co to file binding offers to become strategic investors in its 10 billion euro ($11.1 billion) Belene nuclear power project by the end of April, its energy minister said.

France's Framatome, a unit of EDF, and General Electric, which had offered to provide equipment for the project and arrange financing, will also be part of the process, Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said on Thursday.

General Electric has offered a steam turbine, while Framatome is seeking to provide monitoring and controls systems for the 2,000 megawatt plant on the Danube River.

"The process is very open," Petkova told reporters. "Every one of the shortlisted companies can enter into talks with the others."

Sofia revived the Belene project last year after parliament decreed it should seek to make use of two nuclear reactors it bought for over 620 million euros from Rosatom in compensation for scrapping the original project in 2012.

The Balkan country has said the project will only move ahead if it manages to secure strategic investors.

Petkova said Bulgaria will sign confidential agreements with the companies next month. In August seven companies filed initial offers to become strategic investors in the project.

Sofia plans to keep a blocking stake in the venture and will contribute with the site, the nuclear reactors and the acquired licences.

But it will not extend state or corporate guarantees or offer to buy electricity from the plant under long-term contracts with preferential rates.

$1 = 0.8990 euros Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Jason Neely and Jan Harvey

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