Bulgarian Atomic Experts Rise Against Nuke Closure

Politics | June 26, 2006, Monday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria's decision to close Units 3&4 of its only Nuclear Power Plant should be reconsidered, experts from the Bulgarian atomic forum Bulatom have announced.

The decision contradicts all assessments by international experts and even the opinion of some EU politicians, Bulatom state in a declaration.

The Council of Europe and the European Commission should undertake a flexible approach towards the issue and consider the effect such a closure would have on all the countries in the region, the companies in Bulgaria's nuclear industry believe. The International Atomic Energy Agency had stated in a report of 2002 that Units 3&4 have reached a safety level that even surpasses the Agency's preliminary requirements, Bulatom reminds.

A report by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) from 2003 also states that Units 3&4 of Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant are safer and in better condition than half of the reactors of the same type in the world. Bulgaria's own Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA) have extended the licences of the two units until 2011 and 2013 respectively.

The decision to close the units is not a political one, Bulatom believe, it is economical and is to the best benefit of the largest European nuclear companies. However, members of the forum say that it's unclear what the benefit for Bulgaria would be.

The latest EC Monitoring Report was worded in a way that suggested that Bulgaria should take steps ensuring irreversible dismantling of Units 1&2 of the plant, to prove its commitment to their closure. EU rapporteur for Bulgaria Geoffrey Van Orden has commented that these demands show "unwarranted lack of trust". The report's wording once again sparked discussions about the units' closure. Energy and Economy minister Rumen Ovcharov maintains that any attempt to "save" the nukes would delay the country's EU accession. Ovcharov stressed his point by dismissing the power plant's chief Ivan Ivanov for his Ivanov's attitude towards the EU and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
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