European Parliament to Vote on Nuclear Moratorium

Bulgaria in EU | April 7, 2011, Thursday // 09:51|  views

A file picture dated 03 September 2008 showing workers during the construction of the first 1 000 MW unit of the second nuclear plant of Belene, Bulgaria. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The European Parliament will put to the vote on Thursday a proposal for imposing a moratorium on the launch and construction of new nuclear power plants across the European Union just as Bulgaria committed to the nuclear project in Belene.

The supporters of the proposal insist that the moratorium is in force at least until stress tests - comprehensive risk and safety assessments - are conducted at all EU plants.

The results should be available before the end of the year.

Earlier this week the MEPs agreed on the need to conduct stress tests at EU plants, but some groups criticised the voluntary and national approach proposed by the Commission.

Energy Commissioner G?nther Oettinger said the Commission is "currently drafting a list of criteria (for the stress tests) that will be sent to the EP and made public" by the end of May.

The tests will assess if nuclear plants can withstand disasters or attacks.

"National regulators will be carrying out tests". It's currently not possible to make such decisions on nuclear power at an EU level, he said.

German Green Rebecca Harms also had concerns that the stress tests would be "suspicious", because national authorities will be responsible.

"It's a club, all of these people have known each other for decades and they have always tolerated slight departures from the norm".

However, British Conservative Giles Chichester said, "there is a world of difference between the 15 year-old reactors in Japan and the modern ones in Europe, and a world of difference in seismic risk...A nuclear moratorium would mean acting without evidence. We need to analyse the situation, not to act in haste".

In spite of Japan's crisis, the EU's warning and the promise to sever ties with Russia, Bulgaria has bowed to Moscow's nuclear demands in the most scandalous and sneaky possible way.

The head of the National Electric Company NEK Krasimir Parvanov signed on Tuesday an agreement with Rosatom's subsidiary Atomstroyexport that potentially threatens Bulgaria's national interests by obliging the Bulgarian government to reach a final agreement with the Russians on Belene by June 1, 2001.

The sneaky move was slammed by the Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov and led to Parvanov's dismissal, which was eventually overturned by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

Borisov harshly criticized the minister's hasty and emotional reaction and threatened him with being kicked out of office.

It is still an open question whether the signed document is legally binding.

This week's development came months after Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov unexpectedly said the construction on the planned Belene nuclear power plant had been suspended.

Borisov's U-turn fuelled suspicions that links between the mafia and the political system run deep in the energy sector. The man believed to be pulling the strings behind the curtains, the back seat ruler, is Valentin Zlatev, CEO of Lukoil Bulgaria. It was only after he intervened in the talks for Belene that Borisov suddenly changed his mind in favor of the project.

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Tags: Bulgarian, Martin, Dimitrov, Blue Coalition, Economy Minister, Russia, Krasimir Parvanov, NEK, Rosatom, Genadiy Tepkyan, Belene NPP, Atomstroyexport, National Electric Company, NEK, Traicho Traikov, Borisov, Boyko, Fortum, Krassimir, Parvanov, Bulgaria, nuclear, power, plants, moratorium, stress tests, Belene, Russian, Lukoil


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