Construction of a $5.5bn nuclear power project in Bulgaria could be halted as the result of a government rethink on its energy spending brought about by a $1.8bn budget deficit, according to news service Bloomberg.

There is an 80% chance that a nuclear reactor planned for Belene will be scrapped, according to Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Djankov who said the government has run into trouble securing private funds for the 2,000MW plant.

German utility major RWE has been contracted to develop and manage the nuclear plant while BNP Paribas was arranging a €250m loan for construction.

The government is also assessing its other energy projects, which along with the nuclear plant are planned for the provision of energy security from 2015. Already, $366m has been committed to these projects.

It believes projects in neighbouring countries of Greece, Romania and Macedonia will help meet energy needs for the future, removing the urgency for its own national projects.

“We have to see whether they are meaningful economically, how much are they going to cost and when they are going to happen,” Djankov was quoted in the Bloomberg report as saying.

“There are quite large commitments in the energy projects, of at least half a billion lev, and we’re now going project by project.”

Bulgaria could also float about 15% of its stake in Bulgarian Energy Holding.