Belene NPP Cannot Spoil Bulgaria-Russia Relations – PM Borisov
Commenting on the decision to quit the Belene NPP project, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has voiced hopes that Bulgaria and Russia will retain friendly relations.
"I hope that President Putin will stick to his word and that we will part ways as friends on this project," Borisov stated after a hearing in Parliament on Wednesday.
He added that he had told Putin on the phone that "it is not like us to cop out on one project for years on end and to spoil our relations with this."
Borisov explained that Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev would fly to Moscow on Friday to "find a friendly way to withdraw from the project."
The Prime Minister reminded that Russia and Bulgaria were enjoying a good partnership on the South Stream gas pipeline project.
Borisov officially confirmed Bulgaria's plans to suspend the project for the construction of a second nuclear power plant and provided the motives for the decision.
He specified that the decision was final.
His words did not make it clear whether the move would have financial repercussions.
Borisov said that it was not worth it to erode the good relations between Bulgaria and Russia over the Belene NPP project.
He added that the Belene NPP was located in an earthquake-prone area near a fault line.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the financial drawbacks to the project, emphasizing that Bulgaria had to pay an additional EUR 140 M for the already assembled reactor.
"We cannot afford to pay for it, and there is no way we can make future generations pay," Borisov declared.
He explained that Delyan Dobrev had been tasked with opening negotiations for the launch of a procedure for building a seventh unit at the Kozloduy NPP with the new reactor.
He went on to say that the decommissioning of Unit 1 of the Kozloduy NPP would free up a site, meaning that an eight unit could be built there.
Borisov argued that the transfer of the paid-for and assembled reactor to the Kozloduy NPP would take seven years.
"It is an old generation reactor because that's what they bought. We paid for it and we'd better get it. The specialists can seek options, if there are candidates to buy it, we could sell it," the Prime Minister snapped.
Borisov's comments did not specify whether the GERB government was planning to build a 7th unit at the Kozloduy NPP or whether it would put up the reactor for sale.
According to unofficial information cited by news portal dnevnik.bg, the government will make an attempt to sell the reactor first and if the offer fails to attract a buyer, the facility will be taken to Kozloduy.
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