The Sofia News Agency reports that the Skoda Alliance has handed the government a lower value bid to build the plant, but it promises a shorter construction period.

The Skoda Alliance is up against Russian group Atomstroiexport to win the contract to build the Belene plant. The government in Sofia had earlier rejected the bids offered by both groups as unsatisfactory.

The E2 billion construction project is essential to Bulgaria’s power generation sector as its current fleet of nuclear plant is being gradually shut under direction from the EU. With its capacity contracting, Bulgaria stands to lose its long-standing role as the dominant power exporter of southern Europe.

The Belene plant has been on the drawing board since 1986.