Bulgaria's Belene NPP Project Drained of BGN 300 M – Report
A report of the Public Financial Inspection Agency (PFIA) has claimed that a total of BGN 300 M allocated to the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant has been drained from the state budget.
PFIA presented Tuesday its findings to the ad-hoc parliamentary committee on Belene NPP.
According to the report, a total of BGN 300 M from the state budget was allocated in 2008 to the creation of a Bulgarian-German joint venture to build the N-plant in Belene.
Under PFIA's report, the money was spent, while the Bulgarian-German company was never registered.
According to reports of mass-circulation daily Trud, the prosecuting authority has launched an investigation into the matter.
The ad-hoc parliamentary committee on the N-plant project will hold a closed-doors sitting next week to review the commercial documents on the project.
The ad-hoc committee is to shed light on the exact amount of money spent on the Belene NPP project, what it went to, and what commitments were made under it.
Meanwhile, an anti-nuclear initiative committee was registered Tuesday at the Central Electoral Commission (CEC).
The initiative committee, which will encourage people to vote against the construction of the Belene NPP at the referendum on January 27, is backed by the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) party.
The anti-nuclear initiative committee was established on the basis of a petition backed by over 140 000 signatures.
DSB MP Ivan Ivanov said that the party would challenge proponents of the project to a debate during the informational campaign preceding the referendum.
"Belene is located in a high-risk seismic zone and the cost of building the N-plant is unbearable for the state, the National Electric Company (NEK) and the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH)," Ivanov argued.
The nuclear referendum was triggered by the oppositional Bulgarian Socialist Party's desire to revive the abandoned Belene nuclear power plant project.
The pro-Belene BSP party launched a petition for a referendum on the fate of the Russian-Bulgarian project after the ruling centrist-right GERB scrapped the project in March.
BSP's petition in support of the referendum was endorsed by over 700 000 signatures.
The inspection at the Civil Registration and Administrative Service unit was stopped after it found 540 000 valid signatures, enough to make the referendum irreversible.
The original question of the petition was: "Should nuclear energy be developed in Bulgaria through the construction of a Nuclear Plant at the Belene site?" However, GERB's parliamentary majority decided to edit the question, removing any specific reference to the Belene project.
DSB, which has reiterated its stance against the construction of Belene on numerous occasions, believes that the Bulgarian Socialist Party pursues the project because of its involvement in corruption schemes.
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