Brussels Oks Bulgaria Nuclear Decommissioning Aid

Business » ENERGY | October 27, 2009, Tuesday // 14:28| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Brussels Oks Bulgaria Nuclear Decommissioning Aid Bulgaria's only nuclear plant Kozloduy has two 1,000 MW operating units left. Photo by BGNES

The European Commission proposed on Tuesday the allotment of EUR 300 M in additional compensations over four years to Bulgaria for the closure of Soviet-designed reactors 1 to 4 at Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear power plant.

"This investment in a safer and more sustainable Bulgarian energy network illustrates our desire to see Bulgaria fully integrated into the common European energy market," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement.

Over the last ten years Bulgaria has received a total of EUR 550 M in compensation for the closure of four units at Kozloduy that had been deemed unsafe, but the government hopes to receive EUR 300 M more under Europe's recovery plan.

The aid would have to be approved by the EU's 27 governments and the European Parliament, which might not be easy considering constraints in the EU budget resulting from the economic crisis.

The exact amount of the compensations will be decided on at the December meeting of the member states leaders.

Bulgaria's previous Socialist-led government first called for additional money a year ago and went as far as to ask Brussels to compensate the country for the double blow of the gas crisis and the global economic slowdown by allowing a restart of the units.

The European Commission however has been adamant that a relaunch of the Soviet-era reactors at Bulgaria's sole nuclear power plant is out of the question.

The plant, which has been operating since 1974, has raised safety concerns, and Bulgaria agreed to shut four of its reactors as a condition of joining the EU.

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