Bulgaria will pay Russian state nuclear company Rosatom 400 million euros ($446 million), the bulk of the compensation for the canceled Belene nuclear project, by the end of the year, Economy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said on Saturday.

A court ruled in June that Sofia must pay 620 million euros for the equipment produced by Rosatom for the project, which Bulgaria abandoned in 2012 due to financial constraints and U.S. and EU concerns over its energy dependence on Russia.

The EU member state contracted Rosatom in 2006 to build two 1,000 megawatt reactors at Belene on the Danube River.

Petkova, who discussed the issue with Russia's First Deputy Minister of Justice Sergei Gerasimov at a meeting of the Russia-Bulgaria intergovernmental cooperation commission, said that the rest of the compensation will be paid in two tranches.

Bulgaria agreed to pay the compensation in full and quickly to avoid paying interest of 167,000 euros a day.

The Balkan country is considering selling the 2,000 megawatt nuclear project to private investors, keeping back a small state stake, after an attempt to sell the equipment to Iran failed.


(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Louise Ireland)