Bulgaria to Get More EU Nuclear Decommissioning Aid

Energy | November 20, 2011, Sunday // 17:26|  views

Bulgaria agreed to shut four of its reactors at Kozloduy as a condition of joining the European Union. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The European Commission is expected to propose next week that an extra EUR 500 M in EU financial support is provided for decommissioning the Soviet-era nuclear reactors in Bulgaria, Slovakia and Lithuania.

The funding will be allotted over the period 2014-2020, but it was not immediately clear how it will be split among the three countries. The proposal must be approved by all member states and the European Parliament.

The EU assistance to these three member states for this purpose will have amounted to EUR 2.8 B by 2013.

Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear power plant, which has been operating since 1974, has raised safety concerns, and the country agreed to shut four of its reactors as a condition of joining the European Union.

Over the last few years Bulgaria received a total of EUR 550 M in compensation for the closure of the units at Kozloduy that had been deemed unsafe.

Even though all four reactors have now been shut down, the extra funding of EUR 300 M was needed until the end of 2013 to decommission them safely - EUR 180 M should go to ensure safe decommissioning and EUR 120 M should be used to fund energy-saving measures.

This funding is additional to EUR 210 M in EU support for 2007-2009, which was agreed under Bulgaria's EU accession treaty.

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.

Bulgaria's previous Socialist-led government first called for additional money in 2009 and went as far as to ask Brussels to compensate the country for the double blow of the gas crisis and the global economic slowdown by allowing a restart of the units.

The European Commission however has been adamant that a relaunch of the Soviet-era reactors at Bulgaria's sole nuclear power plant is out of the question.

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Tags: European parliament, European Union, European Commission, Kozloduy, EP, MEP, Vladimir Urutchev, Kozloduy NPP, Nuclear Power Plant, decommissioning aid, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Lithuania


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