Hopes about Bulgaria's N-plant Peer Review "Ungrounded"

Politics | November 22, 2003, Saturday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Excessive expectations were placed on the peer review of Bulgaria's only nuclear power plant Kozloduy by Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg, Foreign Minister Passy and Euro-integration Minister Kuneva, said Rumen Ovcharov, deputy chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and deputy chairman of the parliamentary energy commission.

The only conclusion that the peer review could come up with was the Units 3 and 4 are safe, Ovcharov said.

Days earlier Antonio Madonna, head of the special EU mission to Bulgaria that carrying out a check on units 3 and 4 of the n-plant announced that the recommendations of the European Union (EU) concerning the safety of Bulgaria's only nuclear plant in the town of Kozloduy have been met.

For more than two years the Bulgarian government has done nothing to prove that Kozloduy units are safe, which leaves us sceptical about a possible re-opening of Energy chapter, Ovcharov said.

In his opinion the government's strategy in EU negotiations is wrong and unnecessary hasty.

Talking to the Bulgarian National Radio Energy Minister Milko Kovachev said that the Energy chapter issue is political and must be solved with political means.

According to Minister Kovachev the closure of units 3 and 4 will hardly reflect on consumers but will entail serious economic losses.

Estimates set social and economic losses from closure of the units at EUR 1.7 B.

The Bulgarian government agreed to close the two 440-megawatt units by 2006 under pressure from the EU. Bulgaria insists that there are serious reasons to demand extension of this deadline. Experts claim that decommissioning the reactors would result into a financial collapse at Bulgaria's energy sector.

The closure of the two oldest units at the end of last year came after many years of concern over their safety, strong pressure from the European Union, protests from the nuclear lobby and opposition parties that the reactors are economically necessary.
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