Financing of new nuclear power plants in our country
Thursday, 02.06.2022 г., 15:00-17:00
Generation III/III+ nuclear power plants represent large-scale infrastructure investments with a 100-year life cycle. They are characterized by high capital costs (about 80% of the costs of the entire life cycle of a project are invested at the time of commissioning), a long construction period (from 5-10 years between “first concrete” and commissioning into commercial operation) and relatively low and stable operating costs. Therefore, the investment in a new nuclear plant pays for itself over a relatively long period in the future. In addition to the long period of time between the investment of funds and the first revenues from the project, this makes the construction of nuclear plants too risky a venture to be subject to traditional private project financing. This is why there is no nuclear (or other major infrastructure) project in the world without some form of return guarantee.
At the same time, recently, some characteristics of nuclear power have been increasingly recognized, which are related to the criteria for socially responsible investing (ESG – Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance): emits the least greenhouse gases, uses the least materials, has the least impact on public health and generates the least volume of waste over its life cycle per unit of electricity produced. Viewed in this way, nuclear power plants are one of the technologies important for sustainable development. Their role in ensuring energy security has long been recognized.
This brings us to the problem: how to secure financing for a cost-effective technology contributing to sustainable development and energy security, highly subject to price, construction, and political risk?
The discussion will address issues such as:
- What actions could the Bulgarian state take to minimize the political risk and attract foreign investors for a new nuclear project in our country?
- How do ownership structure, owner capacity, level of planning, and technology chosen matter in securing financing for a new nuclear project?
- What are the applicable mechanisms for reducing the price risk of a new nuclear project in our country?
- What are the potential sources of financing and the achievable financing parameters for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Bulgaria?
Moderators of the discussion:
- Milko Kovachev (IAEA)
- Petar Manchev (Bulatom)
- Economists and lawyers with experience in nuclear projects: Julian Zhelyazkov (GEP), George Borovas (Hunter Andrews Kurth LLP), Elina Teplinski (Pillsbury)
- Experts from international institutions: Berta Picamal (NuclearEurope), Michel Berthelemy (NEA), Alicia Duncan (DOE/IFNEC)