Shut-down Looms for Bulgaria's Nuclear Safety Institute
Russia will sue Bulgaria over unpaid USD 1.35 M owed for the removal of used nuclear fuel, according to Prof. Yordan Stamenov, Director of the Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy (INRNE) at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
The deadline to pay for the 2008 services of transporting and burying the fuel near the Russian town of Ozersk is September 1, Stamenov says, adding the Institute needs another BGN 9 M by 2012 to carry out the reconstruction of the research reactor.
According to the Professor, BGN 2 M annually have been regularly slated for nuclear safety between 2001 and 2009, and this is the first year INRNE did not receive any money. He said the transported fuel was State property thus Russia will sue the Bulgarian State, not the Institute.
With the current financial situation, INRNE has only one month before closing doors and after that the safety and efficiency of the facility cannot be guaranteed, Stamenov stressed, but assuaged fears of a nuclear disaster explaining the reactor is empty.
“If radiation increases, the instruments will not be able to correctly register the levels, and this is alarming. This concerns people living nearby,” says the INRNE Head.
The Finance Ministry informs there is no money for nuclear research, reminding the subsidies for the Academy of Sciences have been reduced by 20% in the updated budget.
As early as March, Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, had asked his colleague, Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, to help with the funding, but the latter never responded and Stamenov has not been successful in trying to reach him for discussion.
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