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Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom is "open" to talks and an out-of-court settlement with Bulgaria over its one billion euro international arbitration suit.
Rosatom filed the suit after Bulgaria, in March 2012, abandoned plans to build a second nuclear power plant in the town of Belene, which Rosatom had been contracted to construct.
"Rosatom is open to talks with Bulgaria on the debt for the terminated construction... As long as there is good will on the Bulgarian side, we can reach an agreement," the spokesperson of the Russian state corporation, Sergey Novikov, told Bulgarian National Television in an interview aired on Monday.
"The trial has not been held yet which is why all working groups have a chance to negotiate an agreement before that happens. These are processes that are not contradictory. We are open for talks – just as long as the Bulgarian side is prepared for that," Novikov said.
Bulgaria's government is currently tangled up in a billion euro dispute with Russia over the termination of the Belene project.
In July this year, Rosatom took Bulgaria's Bulgaria's National Electricity Co, NEK, to an arbitration court seeking 58 million euros over delayed payments for its work on two nuclear reactors.
The next day the Bulgarian company said it was prepared to strike back with a 61 million euro countersuit against the Russian firm over delayed payments for purchases of old equipment for the plant, worth about 300 million euros.
In September, Rosatom increased its claim against NEK to 1 billion euros. Rosatom said it sought more money to cover construction work and production costs of the two canceled nuclear reactors.
After the project was first launched in the 1980s, the construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube was stopped in the early 1990s over lack of money and environmental protests.
After selecting the Russian company Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom, to build two 1000-MW reactors at Belene and signing a deal for the construction in 2008, former prime minister Sergei Stanishev gave a formal restart to the building of Belene.
After failing to agree on cost and find Western investors, in March 2012 Bulgaria decided to abandon its plans to build the nuclear power plant.
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