Bulgaria Nuclear Plant CEO Brutally Attacked

Crime | November 22, 2011, Tuesday // 08:04|  views

The attack comes just two months after the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) appointed Alexander Nikolov CEO of the Kozloduy plant. Before that he was a Board member. Photo by BGNES

Two unidentified assaulters have attacked the general director of Bulgaria's sole nuclear plant Kozloduy late on Monday not far away from his home.

The condition of Alexander Nikolov was not immediately clear.

The attackers have fled the scene of the crime.

The news comes 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 is expected to propose this 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.

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

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, Alexander Nikolov


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