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Commenting article: EC Firmly Snubs Bulgaria over Nuke Units Reopening

Bulgaria's hopes to reopen two of the units at its sole nuclear power plant Kozloduy that were decommissioned upon its EU accession, have been dealt a new blow at the European Parliament.

"Bulgaria is facing an economic crisis more severe than the financial collapse of the 90s in the wake of the shutting down of Kozloduy units 3 and 4," Hristo Hristov, head of the Energy Institute, said on Wednesday at the European Parliament.
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#1
Taro - 31 Jan 2008 // 13:53:08

Pacta sunt servanda.

TRUST is an important resource for nations. Bulgaria should show that earns the trust. As there a re reasonable doubts about the liability of Bulgaria, which is shown by several ongoing investigations, it is now up to the government of Bulgaria to think about different ways of energy production and regain trust.

In Bulgaria a given word is already forgotten the next day. So stop whining!

Greets
Taro

#2
George Zheliazkov - 31 Jan 2008 // 15:54:12

Extreme moments require extreme actions.

I don’t know the financial standings of Bulgaria and if the EU is an asset or a liability by now. Bulgaria is, and always will be in Europe and this does not have to be with or within the EU. If all that membership boils down to an instrument of a financial manipulation, which slows down and burdens the development of the country, maybe Bulgaria should reconsider being member of the EU.
The citizens of the country are first and foremost important before any union issues. We already had the bitter experience with another union (soviet union) for close to 50 years, where we had to again ignore our interests and give a priority to the union.

Switzerland (probably the best European country) is an excellent example of prosperity and neutrality from which Bulgaria can learn a lot about sovereignty and prosperity.

#3
Taro - 31 Jan 2008 // 16:16:39

Hi George,

you donВґt believe your own words, donВґt you?

You really want to compare Bulgaria with Switzerland?! This country is rich enough, that they donВґt need a EU Membership as well as Norway with his oil and fish industry.
By the way Norway and Switzerland are following a lot of the EU regulations in wide fields of the common policy, that the last thing which is missing is the membership, which is especially in Switzerland not a popular thing, because they will start to become a netto payer into EU.

Bulgaria hasnВґt either oil nor a functioning banking system. And bulgarian cheese and chokolade isnВґt that famous. It also doesnВґt pay into the EU but is receiving more then it "looses" with the switched off nuke Units.

You sound as Bulgaria is surprised by the fact that they had to close Kosloduje. The former government accepted to switch off as a condition for EU Membership. This Membership is a mixture between giving and taking. And in difference to the soviet times, this membership was voluntarily.

The reasons for closing this nuke, whether security reasons or energy policy reasons, this reasons are still valid.

Instead of longing for Kosloduje Bulgaria should built up alternative source for energy, like wind, water and solar energy.

Greets
Taro

#4
George Zheliazkov - 31 Jan 2008 // 18:02:55

Hi Taro,

Switzerland was not always rich and we always have to start from somewhere. Bulgaria should never accept the EU membership offer versus nuclear plant in first place. All they could agree on, should be closing of the plant after the new-finished plant was fully functioning.
About the receiving from EU vs. loosing from the plant, I have no exact information but loans should not be considered as revenue.
Yes EU is voluntary and BG is probably not ready yet for the membership.
By far the majority of the world’s nuclear infrastructure is old and must be replaced but the security reasons are highly exaggerated. Again, Chernobyl was a 100% human error, which can happen anywhere in the world including Western Europe.

The new sources of energy are expensive, inconsistent, low capacity with a short life span. You cannot supply high capacity manufacturing facilities with solar, wind or whatever energy because the sun is not always shining and the wind is not always blowing. So nuclear is the future and the whole world is going back to it.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/environment/2007-06-03-euronukes_N.htm

#5
Taro - 31 Jan 2008 // 20:07:22

Hi George,

you have to differentiate, Switzerland ist not rich because they where neutral and non-EU. The reason why one country is more developed then another doesnВґt only depends on 2-3 factors. But I can tell you why Bulgaria is so slow catching up. Because the population is decreasing. Economically developement always go together with population growth. The time when USA enjoyed the highest growth rate, was in the time when immigration was the biggest. And second main reason for falling behind is the low quality of infrastructure in Bulgaria. So without help from EU, this wouldnВґt be developed as fast as inside EU.
And what do you think would be the alternative for a EU Membership? Becoming a part of Russia again?!

"Bulgaria should never accept the EU membership offer versus nuclear plant in first place. All they could agree on, should be closing of the plant after the new-finished plant was fully functioning."

WRONG! Bulgaria didnВґt accept Membership, Bulgaria applied for and was accepted by the EU after fullfilling the requirements. For example to turn the aquis communitaire into bulgarian law. This consists all the EU-regulations and is 80.000 pages thick...

Bulgaria is and will be for some more years netto receiver. This means it will gain more then pay. Germany is the biggest netto payer. Means it pays more then getting back by subsidies and helps. On the other hand, Germany is exporting the most of its products to the EU, so at the end it pays off...

"Again, Chernobyl was a 100% human error, which can happen anywhere in the world including Western Europe."

So you are giving the BEST argument contra nuclear energy. As long there is not enough safety, itВґs not responsible to rely on this dangerous technology. When it happens, and as you say it can happens everywhere, I donВґt want to be near...
And the problem of nuclear waste isnВґt solved as well. Nobody wants to live near to nuclear waste, which remains dangerous for ten thousands of years...

"So nuclear is the future and the whole world is going back to it."
No, itВґs the end of the world. The more nuclear plants, the more risk of a GAU.

Bulgaria for example has also thermic heat in the ground, so it could use this energy for example.

And not to forget it could increase energy efficiency, that would safe at least on powre plant.

Greets
Taro

#6
Kolega - 31 Jan 2008 // 20:31:55

I was kind of with you Taro, until your last sentence:
"And not to forget it could increase energy efficiency, that would safe at least on powre plant".

Come on, that's ridiculous.
It has no economic base. The more efficient you become, in theory, = less demand for energy = lower price = more use.

Germany is investing heavily in alternative, but they can afford it better.

When you talk of trust, it has to be two ways.
Our relationship with the EU has always been schizophrenic.
On one hand every EU country looks out after their own interests - the protection of their farmers from our exports come to mind, on the other they do have interests, in BG having a better infrastructure, and help pay for it.

One of the biggest BG export is energy. BG is and actually has been, through the commie times, something of an energy center on the Balkans.
Closing energy plants, hurts us badly.

There is nothing wrong with different countries pulling the rug their own way within the EU - that's natural.
This is why when you say:
"Bulgaria should show that earns the trust. As there a re reasonable doubts about the liability of Bulgaria, which is shown by several ongoing investigations, it is now up to the government of Bulgaria to think about different ways of energy production and regain trust." ... is kind of silly - we are not to be trusted, because we look after our national interests?
Something legal and normal for every EU state?

#7
Taro - 31 Jan 2008 // 21:05:45

"Come on, that's ridiculous.
It has no economic base. The more efficient you become, in theory, = less demand for energy = lower price = more use."

So then in BG energy is still too cheap. When you consider that most of the households heating with electricity as the gas network is still small and most of the houses arenВґt isolated. Just look at the thin windows, you could also just let the windows open. This is a gigantic waste of energy.
There is a calculation in Germany, that when everybody would switch off their electronic devices instead of switching into the stand by modus, they could switch off one nuclear plant. I know such efforts need time, but will have a great impact.

ItВґs right that every country has their own and a european interest, GB is one big example. And BG can also have their interest, look at the Evro spelling, and if everybody agrees with the arguements, it becomes right.
But when you sign a contract, then you should follow the words of the contract. It seems that BG was not sincer, accept to switch off Kosloduje but thinking of switching it on again, right after BG became a memberstate. This I wouldnВґt consider a trustful policy.
The other memberstates might think that BG will break their word at the next occasion.

Greets
Taro

#8
George Zheliazkov - 31 Jan 2008 // 21:43:30

OK Taro,

I’ll play another round ;-)
You are my kind of guy German-Japanese right? Two nations I happen to like and apparently they know what they are doing ;-)
Anyways let’s go back to Bulgaria.

“you have to differentiate, Switzerland ist not rich because they where neutral and non-EU.”

Yes I do differentiate and the opposite was intended in the example with Switzerland, which is that it’s possible to be rich and neutral.

“Because the population is decreasing”

Yes one major factor but you can still be neutral with an immigration program like the US has for example.

“And what do you think would be the alternative for a EU Membership? Becoming a part of Russia again?!”

Again the entire idea about the example with Switzerland was to explain that you don’t have to be a part of anybody and at the same time do business and trade with everybody. (Just like Switzerland)

“WRONG! Bulgaria didn´t accept Membership, Bulgaria applied for and was accepted by the EU after fullfilling the requirements.”

A desperate, premature and probably wrong application.

“When it happens, and as you say it can happens everywhere, I don’t want to be near...”

Well there are many other dangers in our everyday life, planes are falling, car accidents etc.
The probabilities of nuclear plant blowing up are very low.

“Bulgaria is and will be for some more years netto receiver. This means it will gain more then pay.”

Sounds to me that Bulgaria is starting to look more and more like a street corner beggar living on the mercy of the by passers (EU countries). Now we all know this is a mediocre quality of life. What the beggar should do is clean up his/her act, go get a job based on whatever skill (available infrastructure in the case of Bulgaria) he/she has and gradually learn/study and upgrade his/her quality of life.


Taro,
I don’t know what you are doing for living but technology is my field (electricity is a major part of it). It is easy to be critical and Green peace like but in the world of science there is no present efficient solutions, the best is hydropower generation but Bulgaria is out of luck with large water supplies.

So even if you don’t like it the nuclear power generation is here to stay and newer reactor technologies will be gradually implemented all over the world and in Europe.

#9
Taro - 31 Jan 2008 // 23:11:52

Hi George,

"You are my kind of guy German-Japanese right? "
Yes, thatВґs true and I am proud that I unify the best from both nations inside of me.
;-)

"Anyways let’s go back to Bulgaria."
I will not go back to Bulgaria, as I am going to move there still this year. I already lived in Spain, Germany and Brasil.

Well, I still donВґt think Switzerland is a good example to compare to, as itВґs quite special in several areas. Politically, geographically, ethnically, historically and so on.
I donВґt believe that Switzerland could be an example for BG to take as a role model.

"you don’t have to be a part of anybody and at the same time do business and trade with everybody. "

Sure, when BG wants to remain as a small, poor and powerless country. BG doesnВґt have so much natural resources, it has a small productive industry and a declining population, so which would be the path to growth and prosperity for BG without a little help from his friends?

"A desperate, premature and probably wrong application."
Well, everything is a development. Nobody pulled a gun and hold it on to the head of BG. And nobody says that a country has to be already a full functioning memberstate right after itВґs entrance. As I said it before, itВґs like you sign a membership for a fitness studio. They provide you everything to become strong and healthy, but the workout is up to you.

"Well there are many other dangers in our everyday life"
Sure, but this accidents doesnВґt have the same consequences as a blowing up nuclear plant, Chernobyl remains a dead city for centuries. The cancer rate increased in the neighbour countries and black sea states.

"The probabilities of nuclear plant blowing up are very low."
And it will become more with every nuclear plant which is going to build somewhere. The statistically probability goes up. Last year there was an incident in a sweden reactor from Vattenfall, which is considered near to Chernobyl accident...

"Sounds to me that Bulgaria is starting to look more and more like a street corner beggar"

Wrong, I wouldnВґt consider BG a street corner beggar, but as a teenage state, which still needs the support from his parents in moral and economical ways, but one day it should leave home and become an adult state and live by his own.

"the best is hydropower generation but Bulgaria is out of luck with large water supplies."

I know, but I have another suggestion for BG. Build a waste incinerating plant. So BG could solve itВґs garbage crisis in Sofia and produce energy. Modern filtration techniques can reduce the pollution emissions. So, what do you think about that?
:-)

I studied economy, political science, sociology, history and languages.

Greets
Taro

#10
Kolega - 31 Jan 2008 // 23:43:27

"But when you sign a contract, then you should follow the words of the contract. It seems that BG was not sincer, accept to switch off Kosloduje but thinking of switching it on again"
I am not informed enough on that issue, but I doubt that it's that simple - few things are...

"So then in BG energy is still too cheap."
Very true.
We in BG waste energy, and because of it we don't use much.
You see there is a difference between using and using.
With other words, we don't "use" nearly enough of the energy we use. Why? Because we are inefficient.
Almost no where is Europe people are so aware of energy - we close doors all the time, avoid turning the air-condition routinely so not to waste.
Because we waste most of it through poorly designed buildings and such, we don't use much of the electricity we use.
If and when we do improve efficiency, I will bet you that we'll just stop closing the doors in winter, and run the air nonstop in summer - because we will be able to afford it and we'll actually start using the electricity we use.... confusing?

"There is a calculation in Germany, that when everybody would switch off their electronic devices instead of switching into the stand by modus, they could switch off one nuclear plant."

Right, but this is not an economic "calculation", just a theoretical one.
Sure efficiency is important, but it has never, ever lead to reduced consumption - anywhere!
It goes against market principles.
On the contrary - it can lead to reduced prices, which inevitably leads to increased consumption.
The only thing that leads to meaningful reduction of consumption is raising prices.
The problem with higher prices is that it becomes more profitable to generate even more energy - it's a circle you see..
The good thing about rising prices is that with it, alternative energy becomes feasible.
Encouraging efficiency, only postpones the profitability of alternative means.

Technology is the only answer, but unfortunately technology is created by people who'd like to get payed, so it needs to be profitable.

#11
Taro - 1 Feb 2008 // 01:23:53

"confusing?"
Yep!

I am not sure, if Bulgarians are really aware of energy. I have more the feeling, that in the past there was no welfare, but now itВґs is a little bit so the people wants to consume and donВґt think about saving energy. You mention air conditioning, they are running almost the whole year, in the summer to cool and in the winter to heat up.

Energy efficiency is not only an economical but also an ecological issue, which is still a strange concept in BG, but as last year the climate change hit the country, it will become a stronger topic in the future.

What you say about the prices in energy markets is only when you consider perfect markets. But energy markets a no liberate markets, in Germany for example we have an oligopol where 4 big energy enterprises. They can raise prices like they want. There is no alternative. And the energy price has also a huge political part with taxes and fee for the alternative energy production.
The prices know only one way: up!

Greets
Taro

#12
CJB - 1 Feb 2008 // 12:36:46

"I am not sure, if Bulgarians are really aware of energy. I have more the feeling, that in the past there was no welfare, but now itВґs is a little bit so the people wants to consume and donВґt think about saving energy. You mention air conditioning, they are running almost the whole year, in the summer to cool and in the winter to heat up."

I had a discussion with a relative of my wife about saving energy. He could see the point of insulation and double glazing, but was not convinced about any other measures, like energy saving bulbs or turning the thermostat down a few degrees.

The reasons were interesting. Essentially it's all about showing off your wealth and status. Double glazing, external insulation, even solar heated water are all conspicuous improvements to modernise your house, therefore 'okay'; putting in energy saving bulbs makes it look like you are trying to save on your electricity bills, which could mean you don't have enough money, and that's 'not okay'.

These attitudes are understandable, if a little frustrating. It's just common sense not to have to use more energy than you have to!

Energy efficiency is not only an economical but also an ecological issue, which is still a strange concept in BG, but as last year the climate change hit the country, it will become a stronger topic in the future."

Not while people are just worrying what the neighbours will think about them. BG is about 20 years behind the social curve in 'the West' in this respect. It's only in the last decade or so it has become 'socially acceptable' to save energy, to the extent that people want their neighbours to know they are 'green'...

#13
CreepyS - 1 Feb 2008 // 13:16:35

One point here is that BG negotiated badly the schedule for closure of these 2 units. Slovakia has 2 Russian reactors like ours and they negotiated to close each of them after 28 years of interrupted exploitation. Given that the reactors are designed for 30 years of life, thats okay.

If BG had negotiated the same, one reactor should close this year and the other in 2010. So all this noice about reopening is about a couple of years after which BG will have the same problem untill the Belene plant opens. In fact its not the EU but the BG negotiators to blame that they signed a bad deal. And of course, once you signed its over - its like if you make a bad move in an official chess game and say - oh, i made a mistake, can i have my move back? Well, no, you cant, or you break the rules and go to another level of relations.

Between this year and 2013 or so when Belene will be operational, BG will face energy deficit, so it is imperative to go as energy efficient as possible - there are many technologies that are not that expensive like saving bulbs, better isolations, etc. It requires an initial investment but normally it pays off in a couple of years or so.

In times of energy deficit the prices would actually go up and the people and the companies can pay the same bill as before if they go energy efficient. At any rate it will be a very good thing to promote energy efficiency in BG the smart way instead of dimming the light, cutting off heaters etc.

#14
CreepyS - 1 Feb 2008 // 13:25:16

CJB,

Unfortunately, the parvenu mentality has always been a problem in BG and in many other countries when pragmatic issues are concerned. If you go to a restaurant in Asia, order something expensive and DONT eat everything because the people will think youre poor.

Same with your BG friend - its all about what the other people will think about you. Lame.

#15
CreepyS - 1 Feb 2008 // 13:29:07

Lets launch an ad campaign that only the rich and the "real european" people use saving bulbs and other similar stuff, maybe this will help;)

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