AFP: Bulgaria Turns off Reactors in Bid to Join EU

Politics | January 2, 2003, Thursday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Two reactors of a nuclear power station at Kozloduy in Bulgaria were shut down on Tuesday as Sofia prepares its bid for European Union membership. The EU considers them unsafe, says the management of the power station.

The two Soviet-made, 440-megawatt, water-pressure reactors, which had been in operation since 1974 and 1975, ended their working lives as a precondition for a start to EU membership negotiations.

EU experts said the reactor's structures were not safe because there was no proper sealing to prevent radioactive leaks in the event of an accident.

Under a deal with the EU, the reactors were due to shut down before 2003.

The two reactors produced the cheapest electricity in the Balkans. Their absence will reduce Bulgaria's power supply exports to neighbouring countries from 6.3 billion kilowatt hours in 2002 to 5.3 billion in 2003.

Two other modernised versions of the reactors remain in operation at Kozloduy. They are due to go out of operation in 2006 under an agreement with the EU, which Bulgaria hopes to join by 2007.
Kozloduy also has two more modern 1,000-megawatt reactors whose future is not in doubt.

The Bulgarian government has decided to unfreeze construction of a second nuclear power station at Belene, near Kozloduy on the River Danube. Work was suspended in 1990 under pressure from environmentalists.
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