Friday, April 30, 2010

Romania should cut nuclear units stake-econmin

BUCHAREST, April 29 (Reuters) - Romania should lower its stake in two nuclear reactor projects at its power plant in Cernavoda to encourage private investors and make the sector more competitive, the economy minister said on Thursday.

The European Union state has a 51 percent stake in a deal to build two more reactors by around 2016 in a partnership with major power firms. The required investment is estimated at around 4 billion euros.

However analysts have said Romania, hit by a deep recession last year, would struggle to secure the funds without outside investment.

"The (official) decision has not been made yet, but I would like to lower Romania's stake in the third and fourth nuclear reactors ... to a minority one to raise competitiveness," Economy Minister Adriean Videanu told an energy seminar.

His comments reflect the centrist coalition government's new drive to attract investors to its cash-strapped power production sector by listing minority stakes and striking public-private partnerships to build new generation facilities. [ID:nLDE63K1JP].

Romania's private partners in building the two nuclear units 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 local unit of ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS: Quote, Profile, Research) and Germany's RWE (RWEG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research).

Videanu also said that investor interest in building wind energy in Romania had leapt to unrealistic levels. Installation capacity demand totalled 23,000 mega watts, he said.

"Obviously, Romania will never be able to develop such a large capacity," Videanu said. "We will fully support the real investors but we will not encourage speculators ... looking to sell their wind projects to real investors."

The head of state-owned hydro power plant Hidroelectrica estimated Romania could see up to 2,000 megawatts of new generation over the next 3 to 5 years, in wind energy and gas- and hydro-fired plants.

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