Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation, announced on June 18 that it has teamed up with France’s Framatome and General Electric’s GE Steam Power to participate in a tender to construct the Belene nuclear plant in northern Bulgaria. The Belene project would involve the construction of two AES-92 units, similar to the reactors that Rosatom supplied to India.
A memorandum of understanding regarding the partnership was signed by Kirill Komarov, first deputy director general of corporate development and international business for Rosatom; Frédéric Lelièvre, senior executive vice president in charge of sales, regional platforms, and instrumentation and control for Framatome; and Michael Keroulle, president of GE Steam Power.
Specifics: According to the announcement, if Rosatom becomes a strategic investor in the project through a competitive process, GE will provide the Belene plant with an Arabelle-based turbine-generator set and turbine hall equipment, while Framatome will supply automated process control systems, electrical systems, hydrogen recombiners, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
What they said: "The signed MOU underlines a continuing high level of trust between our companies,” Komarov said. “I am sure that international cooperation with nuclear industry leaders will help create the best financial and technical conditions for the implementation of the Belene nuclear power plant.”
Lelièvre added, “The Framatome team brings decades of global expertise in instrumentation and control systems, as well as nuclear plant design, services, and component and fuel manufacturing. It is an honor to partner with Rosatom to support the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant, an important project that will provide clean and reliable electricity.”
Background: On March 11, 2019, in an effort to find a strategic investor to help relaunch the Belene project, which had been canceled in 2012 for lack of funding, Bulgaria’s National Electricity Company (NEK) issued a call for expressions of interest from potential bidders. NEK took the action to implement the decision made by Bulgaria’s National Assembly and Council of Ministers in June 2018 to revive the project.
In December 2019, Rosatom, Framatome, and GE were included in the short list of five (out of an original 13) applicants for the project, along with China National Nuclear Corporation and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corporation. Rosatom has previously collaborated with Framatome and GE on international projects, including the Paks-2 reactor in Hungary and the proposed Hanhikivi plant in Finland.