EU Demand to Shut Down Ageing Reactors Troubles Bulgaria*

Views on BG | June 10, 2004, Thursday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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By EU Business

The Bulgarian government on Wednesday came under pressure over the fate of two ageing Soviet-era nuclear reactors, which the European Union has said must be shut down because they are not safe.

Sixty-eight Bulgarian parliamentarians from across the political spectrum placed a motion before the 240-seat parliament calling for a referendum on the future of the reactors, located at the Kozlodoui plant in the north of the country.

"The question regarding the Kozlodoui plant is not a technical one, but a political one, said Socialist Party leader Sergei Stanichev.
The government is determined to respect commitments made to Brussels during negotiations over EU adhesion to close down the two reactors for security reasons.

It has told its members to vote against the motion, which has the support of the opposition Socialists, four ruling party lawmakers as well as independents.

The vast bulk of the ruling party, led by Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg, is likely to veto the motion, and it is unlikely that it will be passed.

The Bulgarian government accepted to close down reactors 3 and 4 at Kozlodoui in return for an undertaking from the EU that Bulgaria would accede to the EU in 2007.

Reactors 1 and 2 were shut down in 2002, while 3 and 4 are due to be closed.

Despite the EU's concerns over the reactors the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog based in Vienna, had given the up-dated reactors a clean bill of health.

Kozlodoui generates nearly half the country's electricity needs. Two other modern reactors are currently producing electricity on the site.
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