Bulgarian EconMin Denies Belene NPP 'Secret Revival'
Bulgaria's Cabinet is not secretly constructing the country's second Nuclear Power Plant in the Danube city of Belene, according to adamant Economy and Energy Minister, Delyan Dobrev.
On Thursday, the right-wing opposition Blue Coalition alleged the government has not halted the construction of the Belene nuclear station and the project is in full steam.
They based their allegations on a letter, which they obtained, from the national electricity transmission company NEK to the mayor of the Danube town of Svishtov, Stanislav Blagoev, regarding the construction of high voltage lines needed "to ensure the connection of future facilities that will be built on the site of NPP Belene."
The document is dated October 8, 2012.
"The lines are part of Belene infrastructure and will connect the plant with the energy system of the country," Martin Dimitrov, co-chairman of the Parliamentary Group of the Blue Coalition, said.
Speaking Sunday for the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, the Minister reiterated his earlier statements that the letter aims at sabotaging the government.
Immediately after the opposition released the letter, Dobrev vowed a flood of dismissals to hit Bulgaria's national electricity transmission company. Marin Angelov, head of Trafelectroinvest company with NEK, was the first to get kicked out Thursday.
In the Saturday interview, Dobrev explained he is yet to be informed who else has been involved in carrying out the Belene construction.
He said a new reactor at the now-existing Kozloduy NPP can be built within 10-11 years, adding the Belene NPP could be finished faster, but expanding Kozloduy was something worth considering.
The Minister failed to confirm fresh statements of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov that Russian President, Vladimir Putin will be in Sofia on November 9 for the signing of the South Stream gas pipeline agreement, saying the Foreign Ministry is the institution having such information.
Bulgarians will probably vote on the future of its Belene nuclear station before the end of the year, but the right-wingers says the referendum will just be a tool to legitimize the nuclear plant construction.
The referendum was initiated by the Socialists and backed the ruling party.
Bulgaria decided to abandon plans to build its second nuclear power plant in March this year after failing to agree on its cost with Russian company Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom, and find Western investors.
Bulgaria's government is currently tangled up in a EUR 1 B dispute with Russia over the termination of the Belene project.
Last month recently registered US consortium Global Power Consortium expressed interest in taking over the project to install two 1,000 megawatt nuclear reactors at the Danube River town of Belene and build it without state funds or guarantees.
The companies behind the consortium however are yet unknown.
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