The communist-era logo of Bulgaria's second nuclear station.
Photo: Zhivko Angelov
Faced with the prospect of shutting down four nuclear reactors at its sole nuclear power plant at Kozloduy as a pre-requisite for European Union accession, Bulgaria's government decided in 2003 to resurrect the idea of building a second plant at Belene, on the Danube River.
The project has been criticised extensively as unsafe, too expensive and economically unfeasible, as well as for effectively shutting out Western nuclear companies through the choice of the light-water technology, which saw Russia's state-owned company Atomstroyexport awarded the contract almost by default.
Atomstroyexport would build the two 1000MW reactors for a fixed sum of four billion euro, but the total costs of the project, including the clearing of old construction, building the necessary infrastructure and the costs of disposing of processed nuclear fuel were estimated to reach at least seven billion euro and, potentially, as high as 10 billion euro.
The global credit crunch has made securing bank funding for the project untenable, while the change of government in 2009 has put in power a Cabinet that was even less willing to extend Budget guarantees for the project. A re-evaluation of the project was ordered, with a new strategy and a search for new strategic investors to come in the future.
THE International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supports Bulgaria's plans to build a second nuclear power plant, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on March 4.
The statement said that IAEA director general Mohamed El Baradei had expressed the support of the agency for Bulgaria's plans to build a plant at Belene, northern Bulgaria, during a meeting in Vienna with Foreign Minister Solomon Passi.
RUSSIAN developer, manufacturer and trader of nuclear fuel TVEL is willing to supply fuel for the future Belene nuclear power plant if the Bulgarian government chooses to outfit the plant with a Russian reactor, TVEL's vice president Konstantin Stepanenko said on September 30.
A SERIES of statements and expert comments in the past three weeks on the future of the construction of the second nuclear power plant in Belene has sparked controversy around the project, that is meant to secure the energy future of Bulgaria.
Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg, his sister Maria Louise, top Government officials and other high-profile people are mentioned in a bribery allegation letter on the construction of Belene nuclear plant.
FIVE foreign manufacturers have replied to an Energy Ministry questionnaire and have come up with proposals for the construction of Belene nuclear power plant, the Energy Ministry press office announced on Tuesday.
The mostly unemployed residents of the small Danube port of Belene are the happiest people in Bulgaria, and maybe even the world. Their happy times started on Saturday when Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg announced that Bulgaria would resume the construction of its second nuclear power plant, apparently in the same small Danube port.
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