Bulgarian Govt Vows to Close Brikel Thermal Power Plant

Business | December 4, 2010, Saturday // 14:45|  views

The Bulgarian government is about to shut down Brikel TPP. Photo by starazagora.net

 The Bulgarian Brikel Thermal Power Plant will be closed by the government in spring 2011 and no further conditions will be discussed.

This was announced by Bulgaria's Environment Minister Nora Karadzhova on Saturday.

"Brikel is extremely dangerous for the environment. It is one of the oldest Thermal Power Plants in Bulgaria and the technology it uses is outdated," Karadzhova explained.

Brikel's closure will be carried out in two phases, the first including the immediate shutdown of four of the total of 6 steam generators in the Thermal Power Plant.

The government closure of Brikel is an administrative measure undertaken in accordance with the complex permit that the plant got in 2006, in which its management committed to fulfilling Directive 2001/80 of the EC. It allows the plant to function for 20 000 hours without sulfur filters.

The inspection of the state has shown that the Brikel management failed to invest in the respective environment-friendly facilities, and that by June 2010, it had functioned without any for 21 000 hours.

On October 20, the state terminated all coal supplies to the Brikel thermal power plant.

After talks between Brikel's owner, energy tycoon Hristo Kovachki, the ministries of environment and economy, and trade unions, the Cabinet has agreed to extend the operation of the plant by 6 months in order to provide central heating for the town of Galabovo over the winter.

Kovachki had agreed to assume all fines that might be imposed on Bulgaria by the European Commission if the Brikel plant continues to work without the necessary environmental facilities.

The controversial energy tycoon Hristo Kovachki has been investigated for tax evasion. In 2008, Kovachki, in his capacity as an informal leader, set up a political party called LIDER, with the former CEO of Brikel, Kancho Filipov, becoming its chair. In 2009, LIDER came close to making it to the Bulgarian Parliament amidst allegations that the management of the plants owned by Kovachki pressured the workers to vote for the party.

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Tags: Brikel, Hristo Kovachki, Bulgarian, nora karadzhova, thermal power plant


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