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Cablegate: Atomstroyexport to Build Nuclear Plants in Bulgaria

VZCZCXRO3977
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHMO #0104 0161604
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161604Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6154
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS MOSCOW 000104

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KNNP PREL ENRG BU RS
SUBJECT: ATOMSTROYEXPORT TO BUILD NUCLEAR PLANTS IN BULGARIA

1. (SBU) Summary: AtomStroyExport will sign a six billion
dollar contract to construct two third-generation nuclear
reactors in Bulgaria. The signing will take place on January
18 during President Putin's visit to Bulgaria. As part of a
joint venture with Areva and Siemens, AtomStroyExport will be
the prime contractor for the reactors. Rosatom Director
Kiriyenko has lauded the contract as signifying Russia's
entry into the EU market for nuclear power plant
construction. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Background: The Soviet Union began construction
of the Belene nuclear power plant in 1987. At the request of
the Bulgarian government, work ceased in 1991. In November
2006, Bulgaria and Russia signed a Letter of Intent to resume
construction. The EU did not agree to the project until late
2007.

3. (SBU) Alexey Ubeev, Deputy Director of External
Relations of AtomStroyExport (ASE) confirmed to us January 16
that ASE would sign a six billion dollar contract to build
two third-generation nuclear reactors at the Belene site.
The signing will take place on January 18 during President
Putin's 2-day state visit. While he would not elaborate on
the details of the contract, Ubeev did say that ASE would be
the primary contractor and that Areva and Siemens would be
the European partners. Russia will provide and install the
reactor vessels and the turbines, with all of their
associated hardware. As part of the joint venture, Areva
(France) and Siemens (Germany) will design, provide and
install digital instrumentation and control systems,
electrical equipment and some safety systems for the project.
Ubeev told us that all the work completed before the 1991
construction halt would have to be removed to bring the plant
up to contemporary standards. This conforms with a recent
statement by Rosatom Director Kiriyenko that the design of
any nuclear power plants built in the EU would be in full
compliance with EU safety standards.

4. (SBU) Ubeev indicated that once the contract is signed,
construction should begin later in 2008. The goal is to have
both reactors operational by 2014. He mentioned that
Kiriyenko had praised the contract as representing Russia's
entry into the EU market for nuclear power plant construction.
BURNS

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