EC to Set Aside EUR 550 M for Nuclear Decommissioning Aid

Energy | November 23, 2011, Wednesday // 14:21|  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 (EC) plans to set aside additional nuclear decommissioning aid of EUR 550 M after 2013 to help Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia, reports say.

The money will be used for closing down the old nuclear reactors in Slovakia's Bohunice, Lithuania's Ignalina and Bulgaria's Kozloduy NPP, the German paper Handelsblatt reported.

An EC spokesperson said that no official decision has been made about the exact sum that would be spent yet; he added that the three Eastern EU countries in question have agreed to close down their old nuclear reactors as an act of solidarity stipulated in their EU accession treaties, and the EU has never agreed to pay the full price of their decommissioning.

Last week Bulgaria made it clear it was hoping to get additional nuclear decommissioning aid of several hundred million euro for the shutting down of the 440 MW reactors 1-4 of the Kozloduy NPP as part of Bulgaria's EU accession commitments.

"We are in a hurry to complete this chapter because after the decisions of Germany and Belgium to do away with nuclear energy, there might be too many applicants for EU nuclear decommissioning aid. But I think that we are doing we, and we expect positive results," Bulgaria's Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism Traicho Traikov has commented.

The new EU nuclear decommissioning funding that Bulgaria is hoping to get is expected to be allotted over the period 2014-2020, but it was not immediately clear how it will be split among Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Lithuania.

The potential proposal of the EC needs to 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, and has been slated to get another EUR 300 M by the end of 2013.

Of those, EUR 180 M should go to ensure safe decommissioning and EUR 120 M should be used to fund energy-saving measures in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria's previous Socialist-led government first called for additional money in 2009 and went as far as to asking 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, Kozloduy NPP, Nuclear Power Plant, decommissioning aid, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Lithuania, EU, Traicho Traikov, Economy Minister, EU


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