Bulgarian N-Plant CEO Clueless about Brutal Assault

Crime | December 7, 2011, Wednesday // 10:26|  views

The attack came 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

Alexander Nikolov, the general director of Bulgaria's sole nuclear power plant Kozloduy, who was attacked at the end of last month, has no idea what caused the assault on him.

"I was probably misinterpreted by the media which claimed that the attack on me was prompted by personal motives. What I said was that I did not believe the assault on me had to do with the Kozloduy nuclear power plant," Nikolov explained on Wednesday, referring to an interview he gave the previous day.

"I believe that the accident is not connected to electricity selling," Nikolov stated, clarifying that the power plant has been selling electricity for the past seven years and the public procurement orders have been carried out in a completely transparent manner.

Kozloduy's CEO reiterated that he has never received threats since he took over in September 2011, nor in his 25-year experience in the power plant.

"I am concerned and I will not calm down until the perpetrators are apprehended," Nikolov added in his interview for the bTV private channel early on Wednesday.

Two unidentified assaulters attacked Alexander Nikolov late on November 21 while he was on his way home and brutally beat him on the head, tearing off part of his right ear. The perpetrators have not been arrested yet.

In September, 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 recently proposed that an extra EUR 185 M in EU financial support is provided for decommissioning the Soviet-era nuclear reactors in Bulgaria from 2013 until 2020.

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Tags: Alexander Nikolov, Kozloduy, Nuclear Power Plant, assault, European Union, electricity, energy


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