Failed referendum leaves Bulgaria without nuclear future Rt 31 January, 2013, A referendum on nuclear energy in Bulgaria failed due to low turnout, and the country’s ruling party has confirmed it will not build a new nuclear plant….. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov confirmed that his ruling center-right GERB party would not resume construction on a nuclear power plant in Belene.
In March 2012, the GERB party scrapped the 2,000-megawatt nuclear plant project, which had been under construction by Russia’s Atomstroyexport since 2008. The Bulgarian government said that the country could no longer afford the plant’s 6.4-billion euro price tag……
Kozloduy’s two operational 1,000-megawatt reactors, designed by the Soviet Union, were modernized in 2005 and 2006 to meet EU safety demands. They will be operable until 2027 and 2032 respectively, at which point Bulgaria will no longer generate nuclear energy.
Bulgaria nuclear vote ‘invalidated by low turnout’
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21217882 27 Jan 13, A
controversial referendum on whether to build a new nuclear power plant
in Bulgaria appears to have been invalidated by low turnout.
An exit poll put turnout at around 20% – far below the 60% required
for the poll, which was called on the basis of an opposition petition.
The opposition Socialists want the centre-right government to reverse
its decision not to build the plant.
The poll has been seen as a barometer for elections later this year. Read more »
Bulgaria: a nuclear referendum Ft.com October 26, 2012 by Andrew MacDowall High Pre-election machinations may be behind a decision by Bulgaria’s parliament this week to hold a referendum on a nuclear power plant .
The referendum, to be held in January, follows the government’s March decision to cancel the development of the Danube-side Belene nuclear power plant (NPP), in which Bulgaria had already invested 1.4bn levs ($925m), with one reactor already completed.
The Belene project has been one of the longest-running sagas in Bulgarian politics, first proposed in the 1970s under communism. Construction started in the 1980s but was then halted until 2008, when the government, then dominated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), awarded the construction contract for the 2000MW plant to Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom.
As several energy analysts told beyondbrics at the time of the cancellation, the project had become economically unfeasible, given pressures on the national budget, the spiralling costs (variously estimated at between €4bn and €10bn-plus) and the outlook for power demand, with Bulgaria’s population shrinking and power prices on the rise. Concerns had also been raised about the baleful influence of Russia, which already supplies almost all Bulgaria’s gas…….
In any case, it seems likely that the referendum is declared void. For the vote to be considered valid, the turnout must match the 60 per cent turnout of the last general election, setting a high hurdle of more than 4m voters bothering to cast their ballots. A recent poll suggested that more than 40 per cent of the electorate is unaware that the vote is happening at all. And even if the referendum is in favour, and is validated by turnout, the government is not bound to any timeline for further NPP development.
So: a rather open-ended question on a topic that is hardly constitutionally vital, and indeed regards a project widely seen by experts as dead in the water, put to a referendum which may well be invalid anyway….. http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2012/10/26/bulgaria-a-nuclear-referendum/#axzz2AWxym4na
Bulgaria takes Russia to court over nuclear plant
* Bulgaria files counter claim against Atomstroyexport
* Says Russian nuclear firm owes it over 60 mln euros
* Decision on Belene plant delayed until April
SOFIA, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Bulgaria has taken Russia’s nuclear company Atomstroyexport to court over delayed payments for equipment it agreed to buy under a deal to build the Belene nuclear power plant, the economy and energy minister said. Read more »
4 Workers Exposed to Strong Gamma Radiation in Southern Bulgaria Novinite.com, June 17, 2011,Four workers of the Gitava company, based near the Southern Bulgarian town of Stambolyiski, have been exposed to strong gamma radiation.
The accident happened on June 14 and a committee was subsequently assigned to investigate the matter, the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulation Agency announced.Gitava specializes in supplying and recharging gamma-ray therapeutic equipment for the treatment of cancer patients….. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=129388
Bulgaria: Russia-Backed Nuclear Project in Bulgaria ‘Pig in a Poke’ – Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency, 11 April 11, The plans for a new Russia-backed nuclear plant in northern Bulgaria aim to help Moscow lay its hands on the energy market, impose a monopoly on the prices and keep them high, a right-wing leader has said.”We are now buying a pig in a poke, which is flying on a Russian plane,” Ivan Kostov, former prime minister and leader of the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, told Nova TV broadcast on Sunday….
Kostov says boosting the capacity of renewable energy sources is the answer. Read more »
The cable also reports: “When Bulgarians talk about the Belene nuclear power plant, they increasingly do so in hushed tones. Issues of delays, financing woes, non-transparent horse-trading and side deals, Russian influence … and the interests of well-connected politicians and energy oligarchs inevitably come up.”...
WikiLeaks cables: Bulgarian nuclear project ‘dogged by safety concerns’, The Guardian, Tim Webb, 20 December 2010 German firm RWE, which owns npower, bought 49% stake in project that cable claimed ‘reeked of side deals’ One of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers, which wants to build half a dozen nuclear reactors in the UK, helped develop one in Bulgaria which was “dogged by ongoing serious safety concerns”, according to leaked US diplomatic cables. Read more »
Bulgaria: US Ambassador Questions Feasibility of Belene Nuclear Plant – Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency, 24 Oct 10, US Ambassador James Warlick has expressed misgivings about the feasibility of Bulgaria’s planned second nuclear plant at Belene.”There are two questions that Bulgaria must ask itself – if the Belene NPP is an economically feasible project, and, second, if it provides Bulgaria and the entire region with energy security. I am not sure that there are answers to these questions. We are talking about billions of leva here, and the decisions that will be made with respect to Belene will affect Bulgaria’s energy system for decades to come,” Warlick said on the Bulgarian National Radio Sunday……Bulgaria: US Ambassador Questions Feasibility of Belene Nuclear Plant – Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency
there is no doubt that the renewable energy industry is soaring there.
Keeping Bulgaria Renewable Energy Responsible Green Chip Stocks, By Jeff Siegel , April 7th, 2010“……Since government incentives kicked in over there, new wind, solar and biomass projects have totalled more than 11,000 megawatts. This is huge!Well today, the Bulgarian government announced that it is proposing a ban on building solar and wind farms on quality arable land. Definitely a smart decision on the part of Bulgaria.Certainly the expansion of renewable energy operations is integral to the long-term economic growth of the Balkan country. Read more »
Bulgaria: Westinghouse May Build Nuclear Reactor in Bulgaria’s Kozloduy – Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency 8 April 2010, “…Westinghouse has made it clear it is interested in participating in a future tender for the construction of a new 1000 MW reactor in the Bulgarian nuclear power plant Kozloduy which has four inactive 440 MW reactors and two working 1000 MW units, all of which are Soviet-made.The US energy company has also told Traikov that it was ready to obtain a license so that its nuclear fuel could be used for the Russian reactors in Bulgaria.
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