Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov says he hopes to put "concrete proposals" to Greece within 12 months. It is believed that the plan would be for Greece to sign a long-term supply contract for energy from a new nuclear reactor in Bulgaria.
In an interview with the Greek news outlet Kathimerini, Petkov was asked about the discussions between the two countries cooperating on nuclear power.
He said: “Cheaper electricity is needed. We have nuclear energy, you don't. Putting these things together we could work together as good neighbours, building a long-term relationship by building nuclear power to produce energy for common benefits in a sector that is a significant alternative to energy shortages in our region.”
Petkov, who became prime minister at the end of last year leading a broad multi-party coalition, said he wanted to make swift progress on the issue.
“We are considering the candidate suppliers and are preparing a rapid study of the feasibility of the site. Immediately after that we will come up with concrete proposals to Greece. I want to believe that in 12 months we will have a clear picture of what exactly and how we will do it,” he told Kathimerini.
The two countries are already cooperating on wider energy issues including through the IGB gas pipeline which would give Bulgaira access to Azerbaijan’s gas and the liquified gas terminal at Alexandroupoulis.
Bulgaria currently has two nuclear reactors, generating about one-third of its electricity, but has had plans for more, notably at Belene, near the Danube border with Romania. Site works began in 1980 before being abandoned in 1991 due to lack of funds, when it was about 40% built. There have been various attempts to restart the project since then, most recently in June 2020 when Famatome, Rosatom and General Electric agreed in principle to form a consortium to bid for the project.
According to reports earlier this month, the general cooperation plan would see Greece committing to buying electricity from a new nuclear reactor in Bulgaria for at least 20 years. Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Asen Vasilev said, in a TV interview, that having guaranteed buyers meant they could "act extremely fast".
Greece does not have any nuclear power plants, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis saying in October 2021 the country has no plans to build any because of the risk of earthquakes in the region.