Mysterious fire in Russia burned documents for NPP Belene

Bulgarian prosecutors were left without important documents about the project works around NPP Belene because of a mysterious fire. The reason is that, blaming a fire, the Russian side failed to provide the Bulgarian magistrates with the invoices showing the amounts paid for the sale of the old reactor of the NPP Belene back to Russia, insiders claim.

The refusal was explained by the fact that the office of Atomstroiexport was destroyed by a fire and the documents were destroyed. The information has not been officially confirmed.

The lack of accounting records poses serious obstacles to the protection of the Bulgarian National Electric Company (NEC) in the arbitration case led against Atomstroiexport, as there are no proofs about the amounts the two companies claim from each other for breaches of obligations.

This also interferes with the investigation of the Bulgarian prosecution, which is led since 2010 on abuses in the Belene project. One of the matters checked is the evaluation of the old reactor for EUR 295 million and the conditions in the contract for its sale. Besides the suspected undercharge, an additional problem is that NEC on paper only received BGN 205 million and even paid the cost of transporting the equipment to Russia.

"Perhaps the Russians are deliberately hiding documents that could ultimately be to their detriment" experts from the energy industry commented.

The Bulgarian side has so far not heard about the fire in the building of the Russian company. There is also no evidence about such an incident on the Internet.

The dispute between the Bulgarian and the Russian side on the moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plant Belene will be be decided on October 25 by the International Court of Arbitration in Paris.

The solution should be taken at a single meeting. Exceptions are made only in cases where it is necessary to provide additional documents that are required for an objective judgment.

The Russian state company Atomstroiexport increased its claim against Bulgarian National Electric Company for Bulgaria's decision to scrap plans to build a second nuclear plant to EUR 1 billion this September.

Atomstroiexport subsidiary Rosatom was the Russian contractor selected for the Belene project. It filed a lawsuit for EUR 58 million against Bulgaria in the summer of 2011.

According to Rosatom, apart from the costs of all completed work for the project, this new increased amount also includes the cost of the equipment and its losses.

The construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant was frozen in 2010 because it was uncertain when the investment would be returned. Then the project was terminated in March 2012. However, in late 2012 then opposition BSP initiated a referendum petition and the first national referendum in the history of modern Bulgaria was held on January 27, 2013. The majority of people voted "Yes" on Belene, however the attendance of the voters who bothered to attend was too low for it to pass. The referendum passed the question further to the Parliament, which decided on 27 February 2013 to suspend it. Later in 2013 the newly elected BSP cabinet announced there is a possible restart for it the project.

Adapted from Standart