Energy Minister: Only 800 000 Bulgarians Disagree with Govt on Belene NPPEnergy | January 28, 2013, Monday // 11:43| views
According to Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev, the results of the January 27 referendum indicated that only 800 000 Bulgarians disagree with the government’s decision to suspend the Belene NPP project. Photo by BGNES
Commenting on the results of the January 27 nuclear referendum in Bulgaria, Economy and Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev has suggested that only 800 000 Bulgarians believe that the government made a mistake by suspending the Belene NPP project.
According to preliminary results, a total of 60.55% of all Bulgarians who took part in Sunday's nationwide referendum voted in favor of the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the country.
With 97.14% of the votes counted, it emerged early on Monday that a total of 832 742 people had backed the potential construction of a new nuclear power plant, while 522 927 had voted against.
The referendum was invalidated by low turnout, as merely 21% of the eligible voters cast ballots .
As the turnout is over 20%, and more than half of the votes are positive, the question is to be returned to Parliament for further discussion.
In a Monday interview for TV7, Dobrev explained that the Parliament would uphold the position of the Cabinet within the shortest possible time, thereby abolishing the Belene NPP scheme once and for all.
He was adamant that work on the project would not resume even if a strategic investor showed up.
Dobrev, as cited by dnevnik.bg, argued that the referendum had been a loss to all because a total of BGN 15 -20 M had been spent in a foolish way.
He further drew attention to the lack of documents on the financing of the Belene NPP project, adding that the case of the missing papers, which had probably been destroyed, would be referred to the prosecuting authority.
Dobrev said that former Energy Ministers Rumen Ovcharov and Petar Dimitrov, could be held criminally responsible for the missing documents.
He went on to specify that the paperwork allowing the government to adopt a decision for the construction of a new unit at the Kozloduy NPP was to be completed by the second half of 2013.
Valentin Nikolov, Kozloduy NPP Executive Director, told Nova TV that the project for a seventh unit at Bulgaria's existing nuclear power plant had attracted serious investor interest from abroad.
He claimed that the project for a seventh unit at the Kozloduy NPP would create jobs at the construction stage and would also provide employment for the engineers from the closed units of the N-plant.
Nikolov claimed that a new capacity at the Kozloduy N-palnt could start functioning in 2020-2022 under the best-case scenario.