Brussels: EU to Pay Bulgaria Extra EUR 185 M for Nuclear DismantlingEnergy | November 24, 2011, Thursday // 14:24| 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 proposed on Thursday to secure an additional EUR 185 M from 2013 to help Bulgaria dismantle four Soviet-era reactors at its sole nuclear power plant in Kozloduy.
The European Commission suggests that the additional EU financial support, amounting to EUR 500 M, is disbursed for decommissioning the Soviet-era nuclear reactors in Bulgaria, Slovakia and Lithuania.
The funding will be allotted over the period 2014-2020.The proposal must be approved by all member states and the European Parliament.
The Union assistance for decommissioning of nuclear power plants aims at reaching an irreversible state in the decommissioning process and eliminating the major source of radiological hazard, the EU executive said in a press release.
The proposal foresees for Bulgaria additional EUR 185 M until 2020, for Lithuania EUR 210 M until 2017 and for Slovakia EUR105 M until 2017 (in 2011 prices).
These funds will contribute to the continuation of safe decommissioning of the nuclear power plants Kozloduy, Ignalina and Bohunice.
"It is in our citizens' interest, that these reactors will be safely decommissioned and that they will never be restarted again," EU Commissioner for energy G?nther Oettinger commented on Thursday.
"This additional financial support will help the three Member States to timely progress in defueling and decommissioning of these nuclear reactors. This is a clear expression of solidarity of the EU, which has put nuclear safety as a priority."
Before the Union financial support will be provided, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Lithuania will have to meet certain conditions: They need to fully implement the EU legislation on nuclear safety and on the management of nuclear waste, create legal frameworks for the timely accumulation of national financial resources to cover the remaining financial needs.
The three countries will be obliged to submit to the Commission revised detailed decommissioning plans. Those plans will be the basis for monitoring the implementation of the financial assistance from the Union.
The EU assistance to these three member states for this purpose will have amounted to EUR 2.8 B by 2013.
Earlier this week a EU spokeswoman pointed out that in the accession treaty these countries have agreed to dismantle their nuclear power plants and the EU in an act of solidarity has agreed to pay part of these costs.
"The EU has never agreed to pay the full cost of dismantling," she added.
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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