Bulgaria to build a second nuclear reactor
Bulgaria announced that it
will build a second nuclear power plant to replace two
Soviet-era reactors at its Kozloduy facility which the
European Union wants shut down by 2006.
Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg said the second plant
will be built at Belene, in the north of the country,
where work began in 1987 but was suspended in 1991 after
pressure from environmentalists.
"The government has decided to complete the
construction of the power plant at Belene. It will be the
biggest investment made in Bulgaria in the past 20 years,"
he told 1,000 residents gathered in Belene's central
Saxe-Coburg said the power plant here should be
operational in 2010, four years after the planned closure
of two 440 megawatt reactors at Kozloduy.
The new plant will "allow Bulgaria to retain its
strong position on the region's energy market," the
prime minister added.
The country in 2003 exported some five billion megawatt
hours of electricity, mostly to Greece, Turkey, Serbia
The Kozloduy plant in 2002 already shut down two older
Soviet-era 440-megawatt reactors under pressure from the
EU, which Bulgaria hopes to join in 2007.
The two reactors to be shut down were recently given a
good bill of health by the UN nuclear watchdog, the
International Atomic Energy Agency, but Brussels stood
firm that they should be closed for security reasons.
The Kozloduy plant, which is also situated in the north
on the banks of the Danube, has two other more modern 1,000
megawatt reactors that do not raise any concerns.
The plant provides 47 percent of Bulgaria's electricity
and there are fears that electricity prices will rise
once its output is diminished.
The Bulgarian government spent 1.3 billion euros (1.8
billion dollars) at Belene, a town on the Danube near the
border with Romania, before the project was abandoned two
years after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
The foundations have already been built for a 1,000
megawatt reactor, which was to have been supplied by the
then Czechoslovakia, along with two generators.
Energy Minister Milko Kovachev on Monday said the project
was expected to cost another two billion euros by 2010.
The government will by July choose between eight
proposals for the new plant tendered by five different
They are the US company Westinghouse, France's Framatome,
Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL), the Czech Republic's
Skoda and Russia's Atomstroyexport.
Atomstroyexport is party to three of the proposals, in
consortium with some of the other companies.
Several independent economic analysts have expressed
doubt about the wisdom of building a new nuclear power
plant which they believe will only start making a profit
in 20 years.
"We are investing huge amounts of money which could
be better spent elsewhere," said Krassen Stanchev, a
director at the Institute for Market Economy in Sofia.
The head of the project at Belene, Krassimir Nikolov,
said last week that at this point the government favoured
a high-water-pressure reactor for Belene because it was
already using this technology at Kozloduy.
This would rule out the plan proposed by Canada's AECL
which had input from Italy's Ansaldo Nucleare, US company
Bechtel, fellow Canadian company SNC Lavalin and Japan's
Zdroj: Yahoo News
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