Bulgaria’s National Electricity Company (NEK) has announced a 45 day delay in the submission of non-binding bids for design, construction and operation of the first two units of the proposed Belene nuclear plant.

The revised deadline, which had been due to conclude tomorrow (15 December), will now allow submissions up to 1 February and followed a recommendation from UK-based consultancy firm Parsons E&C Europe Ltd.

Bidders on the €2- €4 billion project, Russian/French consortium Atomstroyexport/Framatome and Czech consortium the Skoda Alliance have reportedly been informed of the decision, although no reasons for the delay were given.

The Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA) is still expected to approve the Belene Nuclear Power Plant site in May 2006 as the delay to the technical bids is not likely to affect the licencing process.