Nuclear games of the East and West
18. May 2010. | 14:40
Author: Jelica Putniković
Serbia could serve as a mediator for China to enter financing of the construction of the nuclear power plant Belene in Bulgaria, providing in Beijing a loan for financing this atomic “Skadar on Bojana”.
Instead of constructing a nuclear power plant with the Russians on its own territory, Serbia is going to build an atomic plant with the Chinese in Bulgaria, in the town of Belene.
Serbia will enter this project in a financial partnership with China, as one of the investors. Professor Petar Skundric PhD and management of the Power Industry of Serbia are these days negotiating in China the possibility that this distant Asian country, besides a loan for several electric power projects in Kostolac, may approve a loan to Serbia for the Bulgarian nuclear power plant as well.
Although last autumn the Russian Ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Konuzin, alarmed the public announcing that Russia was seriously considering construction of a nuclear power plant in Serbia and that “the first talks about that have already been conducted at the highest level”, the authorities in Belgrade decided to accept the offer of the Bulgarian Prime Minister Borko Borisov to take part in the construction of NPP Belene.
After Konuzin’s announcement, officials of the Government of Serbia denied any negotiations with the Russians, with an argument that the moratorium on construction of nuclear power plants is valid until 2015, adding that construction of an atomic plant was not stipulated by the state strategy of the energy sector in Serbia.
The offer of the Bulgarian Prime Minister releases Serbia from the need to solve these problems, since Belene is not on the Serbian territory.
Having gone to Beijing, Petar Skundric, Minister of Energy and Mining at the Government of Serbia, unveiled that the Serbian authorities are ready to participate in the construction of the nuclear power plant Belene with up to 5% of its value. It is an investment worth at least 100 million dollars.
Skundric invites companies from China to take part in the construction of the plant which, according to reporters from this Asian country, Serbia and Bulgaria are going to build with combined efforts.
As an echo of the news, unofficial announcements can be heard in Belgrade that, together with China, in the future consortium for construction of the NPP Belene Serbia will be the owner of not five, but 15 percent, or even more. The details of the engagement haven’t yet been defined.
It should be said that the Russians are also interested in the construction of the nuclear power plant Belene, but Brussels is against it.
Geoffrey van Orden, the former rapporteur for Bulgaria in the European Parliament, announced that a strategic partner in the construction of the plant had to be from the European Union.
The Chinese, who are, unlike many western countries, facing a money surplus, have started to invest all over the planet. In case that, similar to the Russians in Bulgaria, they are not wanted as investors, the Chinese could use Serbia as a mediator. For instance, in Serbia they could establish a joint company with the Power Industry of Serbia, which would invest in the NPP Belene. The money would be Chinese and, at least officially, the co-investor for the Bulgarian nuclear power plant would be from Serbia.
According to announcements of the Bulgarian Prime Minister, it can be assumed that Brussels would have nothing against such an engagement. It is now on the Belgrade authorities to make a good bargain in this outwitting between the west and the east.