Bulgaria Socialists Slam Quitting Belene N-Plant

Energy | March 28, 2012, Wednesday // 14:58|  views

Petar Dimitrov was part of the previous Socialist-led government, which was toppled by Boyko Borisov?s center-right party GERB. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's former energy minister, part of the previous Socialist-led coalition, has blasted the decision of the current center-right government to abandon plans for a second nuclear power plant in Belene.

Bulgaria?s government announced on Wednesday it has abandoned plans to build a new, 2000 megawatt nuclear power plant on the Danube River for which it has contracted Russian state firm Atomstroyexport.

The government has proposed that a gas power plant is built on the site in Belene.

"Where do you plan to take the gas supplies from? Fom the outer space or from Russia? Bulgaria just increases its dependence on gas, an energy resource, the planet is running out of, and gives up nuclear energy, which the European Commission has described as an independent energy resource," former Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov commented on Wednesday.

In October 2011, Bulgaria and Russia reached an agreement to extend the negotiations over Belene nuclear project by another six months as of the beginning of October amidst continuing haggling over its price and feasibility.

Rosatom's subsidiary Atomstroyexport has already assembled the reactor for the first block of the NPP to be built in the Bulgarian Danube town of Belene.

Borisov has hinted that the Belene reactor could be placed in Bulgaria's sole existing Kozloduy NPP.

Petar Dimitrov heavily critisized that decision too.

"That means that we could have the same nuclear unit installed and ready for operations in 10-12 years instead of having it ready and steady in Belene in 2012. This is good news, no doubt!"

Moscow has repeatedly warned that Bulgaria will be sued and obliged to pay EUR 1 B in damages if the project collapses.

Experts however have commented that the prospect of paying hefty compensation to the Russian contractor is not that scary.

According to them Russia, for whom this project is very important from a political rather than an economic point of view, is very likely to agree to more delays.

Besides the very constitution of the arbitral tribunal takes a few months. In some cases this process can be quite long, especially when the arbitration procedure has not been explicitly stipulated in the contracts.

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