Bulgaria N-Plant CEO: Personal Foe behind Brutal Attack
The general director of Bulgaria's sole nuclear power plant Kozloduy, who was attacked at the end of last month, has surprisingly said the assault was prompted by personal, not business motives.
"I believe that the incident was on a personal basis. When I look back and recall the last few years I can not find anything done by me, which could have provoked this attack," Alexander Nikolov told the Bulgarian National Radio.
Two unidentified assaulters attacked Alexander Nikolov late on November 21 while he was on his way home and brutally beat him on the head, tearing off part of his right ear. The perpetrators have not been arrested yet.
"Up to this moment I am not aware of the attackers' motives, but they can not be linked to the deals with electricity, signed by the nuclear power plant that I head. Not a single contract for sale of electricity has been breached. We continue to supply all traders, whom we have contracted," Nikolov explained.
Several days after the attack on him, however, the management of nuclear power plant Kozloduy circulated an official statement to the media, vowing support for the general director and transparency in relations with partners.
The attack came just two months after the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) appointed Alexander Nikolov CEO of the Kozloduy plant. Before that he was a Board member.
Nikolov replaced Kostadin Dimitrov, who retired, citing health reasons.
In April 2008 an energy boss whose company was in charge of maintenance of the Kozloduy reactors was killed in Sofia, fueling suspicions that links between the mafia and the political system run deep in the energy sector.
Reports surfaced about an intricate electricity price-calculation scheme that exploited corrupt practices during public procurement orders.
Kozloduy is the only nuclear power plant in Bulgaria and the largest electricity producer in the country, providing more than one third of the national electricity output annually. The company has been operating since 1974 and employs about 4200 people. The company is entirely state-owned and a subsidiary of the Bulgarian Energy Holding.
It has raised safety concerns, and the country agreed to shut four of its reactors as a condition of joining the European Union.
Under that treaty, Kozloduy was to be decommissioned by 2009, but the work was not completed on time. Bulgaria therefore asked that the EU funding be extended until 2013, to allow it to be completed safely.
The European Commission recently proposed that an extra EUR 185 M in EU financial support is provided for decommissioning the Soviet-era nuclear reactors in Bulgaria from 2013 until 2020.
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