Bulgaria Needs Extra EUR 579 M for Nuclear Decommissioning - ECA
Bulgaria, Slovakia and Lithuania need an additional EUR 2,5 B for the decommissioning of eight non-upgradeable nuclear reactors, according to a report of the European Court of Auditors (ECA).
The audit institution advises the European Commission to create the conditions for an "effective, efficient and economical use of EU funds".
In order to do this, the EC is advised to assess the progress of the decommissioning programmes so far, the activities still to be performed and an overall financing plan identifying the funding sources from the different stakeholders.
In the case of an EU approval for further financial assistance in the next multiannual financial framework, the support should be based on an ex ante evaluation of the EU added value of such intervention, identifying the specific activities to be financed through the EU budget, taking account of other funding facilities such as Structural Funds and the conditions for EU disbursements, the ECA concludes.
In the case of Bulgaria's Kozloduy NPP, the ECA identifies a shortfall of EUR 579 M against a cost estimate of EUR 1.118 B.
The EU's total contribution until 2013 amounts to EUR 2.85 B for the period 1999-2013.
By December 31, 2010, the EC committed over 70 % of the EU financial contribution, or EUR 2.066 B.
Payments to contractors stood at EUR 1.03 B.
In itsnotes on the separate nuclear power plants, the ECA lists a number of shortcomings of the management of teh decommissioning project at the Kozloduy NPP.
The ECA draws attention to project delays,insufficiently reliable decommissioning cost estimates, insufficient identification of decommissioning activities to be performed, and the absence of radioactive waste inventories.
Other flaws identified by the audit institution are the failure to introduce adequate monitoring mechanisms for the implementation of pre-decommissioning tasks.
Regarding the facility for the treatment and conditioning of solid waste with hight volume reduction factor, the ECA says that an experimental technology for plasma melting was selected for the Kozloduy NPP without sufficient proof of its effectiveness and without due consideration of the costs of operating the facility (some EUR 30 M compared to one fifth for traditional technologies).
The report also says that after more than 10 years of EU support, progress on decommissioning of the eight reactors nuclear is slow because the pre-decommissioning activities have not been completed on many projects.
Apart from that, the cost of mitigation measures following the early closure of the plants has not been conclusively estimated.
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Units 3 and 4 of Kozloduy NPP not only are upgradable, but have been upgraded and certified by WANO and IAEA as covering the necessary international safety standards already by the end of 1990's. During the BG membership treaty negotiations some EU MS demanded to close already upgraded and certified as safe Units 3 and 4 together with the non-upgradable Units 1 and 2.