Bulgaria PM to Freeze Talks on Belene NPP until Referendum
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said that the talks with the private investor interested in the implementation of the Belene NPP should be stopped until the results of a referendum on the project come out.
Borisov's statement, as cited by Darik radio, came at the opening of the renovated Tsar Asen I square in Veliko Tarnovo.
The Prime Minister insisted that the referendum had to take place as soon as possible, "regardless of the way in which the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) collected over 500 000 signatures."
Borisov declared that BSP had paid for the votes backing the referendum on Belene NPP just as the party was used to paying at elections.
"They have a lot of money and they pay, but in any case, pursuant to the Constitution, a referendum must be held," he added.
Borisov further suggested that the electronic voting system could be used for the referendum, thereby making it a free-of-charge exercise of direct democracy.
Bulgaria's Prime Minister pointed out that certain issues had to be cleared during the debates on the Belene NPP project, including the source of funding for the project, the cost of electricity, the contractor who would be tasked with building the electricity transmission grid, and where the spent fuel would be stored.
Earlier Monday, President Rosen Plevneliev announced that the Bulgarian Parliament was not supposed to come up with a decision for holding talks with a private investor ahead of the referendum on Belene NPP.
Last week US-registered 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.
According to Bogomil Manchev, owner of the "Risk Engineering" company and consultant for the alleged US investors for the project, the consortium brings together the US investment fund Quantum Group, two large strategic investors, a big US bank and one operator.
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