Friday, April 18, 2008

Romania wants majority stake in Cernavoda reactors

BUCHAREST, April 17 (Reuters) - Romania wants to retain a majority stake in a partnership to build two rectors for the country's nuclear power plant at Cernavoda, Finance and Economy Minister Varujan Vosganian was quoted saying on Thursday.

Last year, Bucharest received six binding bids for a licence to construct the third and fourth Cernavoda reactors on the Danube river. It is negotiating with the bidders to create a partnership with Nuclearelectrica, the operator of the plant.

"In two weeks we will present a formula of association in the project company ... and the formula we look for involves the state retaining the majority in the company," Vosganian was quoted as saying by the state news agency Rompres.

The bidders are Belgium's Electrabel (LYOE.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), Italy's Enel (ENEI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research), Spain's Iberdrola (IBE.MC: Quote, Profile, Research), Czech CEZ (CEZPsp.PR: Quote, Profile, Research), a Romanian unit of ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS: Quote, Profile, Research) and Germany's RWE (RWEG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research).

On Wednesday, CEZ said it had frozen expansion plans in Romania because of Bucharest's plans to create a national power giant, which have put other projects on hold.

The Czech company has said it had secured a 15 percent stake this year in the 2.2 billion euro Cernavoda project.

Romania had initially proposed that Nuclearelectrica would retain a 20 percent stake but Vosganian said last month that this level may still be reviewed.

Work at the Cernavoda plant, designed to have five reactors, began 30 years ago. The plant's first unit went on stream in 1996. (Reporting by Iulia Rosca; Writing by Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Quentin Bryar)

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