PM: Bulgaria Won't Build 2nd NPP without Foreign Investor

Energy | January 25, 2013, Friday // 11:35|  views

Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, says the State does not have money to fund the construction of a second NPP and he "loved Bulgarians more than investors."

All plans to build a second nuclear power plant will be scraped unless a reliable foreign investor emerges, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, declared in the eve of the national referendum on the future of nuclear energy in Bulgaria.

Borisov spoke Friday in an interview for bTV. He arrived in the TV studios in the company of Economy and Energy Minister, Delyan Dobrev, and Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, even though they have not been invited by the producers and the hosts.

On January 27, 2013, Bulgarians will have to answer in a referendum the following question: "Should nuclear energy be developed in Bulgaria through the construction of new nuclear power units?"

Originally, the NPP in the Danube town of Belene had to be built by Russian state company Atomstroyexport, but the Bulgarian cabinet froze the project in the early spring of 2012 due to perceived lack of economic effectiveness.

Borisov told the hosts Friday he wanted to make sure no units of the future Belene NPP would end up being closed at some point.

He stressed the State did not have money to fund such large-scale project, adding he "loved Bulgarians more than investors."

The upcoming referendum was sponsored by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which gathered a petition of more than the 0.5 million legally needed signatures.

Borisov reiterated for yet another time that if his predecessor, Socialist leader Sergey Stanishev, wanted indeed to build the NPP, he would have done so as early as 2006.

He reminded the decision to build Belene was made as early as the time of the Communist regime -in 1986 - and three groundbreaking ceremonies have been staged since then.

The PM noted Bulgarian taxpayers poured already a significant amount of money in the NPP, which was actually wasted.

These latest statements raise once again the issue why the referendum is being organized since the country is strapped for money and would not be able to fund the second NPP even if Bulgarians vote yes on the question.

The cost of the Belene project – which may well exceed ten billion euros, making electricity exports unprofitable – tops the list of criticisms, along with the environmental risks, the danger of seismic activity in the region and, last but not least, Bulgaria's dependence on Russia.

It was reported Thursday that a prominent Russian nuclear energy expert estimated the construction of Belene would cost no less than EUR 12 B.

Bulat Nigmatulin, who also served as Russia's former Deputy-Minister of nuclear energy, has made the statement earlier this week at the sitting of the ad-hoc parliamentary committee, set up to verify the data, facts and decision circumstances and activities under Belene NPP project since 2002 till the end of March 2012.

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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, foreing investor, Sergey Ignatov, Education Minister, Delyan Dobrev, Economy and Energy Minister, Nuclear Power Plant, Referendum, NPP, government, BSP, Atomstroyexport, Belene, Bulgarian Socialist Party, Sergey Stanishev


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