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Russia, Bulgaria sign $5.9 billion nuclear power plant deal

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Russia's state-owned nuclear equipment monopoly Atomstroyexport signed a 3.9 billion euro ($5.9 billion) contract in Bulgaria on Friday to build a nuclear power plant in the north of the Balkan state.

SOFIA, January 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state-owned nuclear equipment monopoly Atomstroyexport signed a 3.9 billion euro ($5.9 billion) contract in Bulgaria on Friday to build a nuclear power plant in the north of the Balkan state.

The deal with Bulgaria's National Electric Company was signed during a visit to Bulgaria by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Atomstroyexport, which won a tender for the project in 2006, is to build two 1,000 MW reactors in Belene, with the first expected to be commissioned in late 2013 and the second in 2014. The planned nuclear power plant at Belene will be Bulgaria's second.

President Putin said Russia was ready to grant Bulgaria a 3.8 billion euro ($5.6 billion) loan for the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant.

"A total of 3.8 billion euros is envisioned in the Russian budget to implement plans to build the nuclear power plant. If necessary, we are ready to provide a loan to Bulgaria," Putin said.

The head of the Russian Federal Agency for Nuclear Power said the number of power units at the nuclear power plant could be increased to four.

"We understand that it is unreasonable to have the Belene nuclear power plant construction confined only to power generating units. This will be the first stage [of construction], which, if successful, will be followed by the third and the fourth units," Sergei Kiriyenko told journalists in Sofia.

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