Bulgarian parliament wants old Kozloduy reactors restarted

Publish date: January 30, 2009

Saying the country is under pressure from the global financial troubles and wary of another gas crisis, Bulgaria's parliament ordered Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev's cabinet on January 23d, to explore the possibilities for the restart of dormant nuclear reactors.

The assembly voted for the motion to prod the government into trying to negotiate a new lease of life for two of the four Soviet-era reactors at the Kozloduy power plant.

The 2006 closure of two 440-megawatt reactors, considered unsafe by the European Union, was one of the conditions Bulgaria had to meet to join the bloc in 2007. Two even older reactors were switched off in 2002. Kozloduy continued to operate on two modern, Russian-built 1,000 megawatt reactors. In addition, Bulgaria has revived plans to build another nuclear plant at Belene, 100 kilometres downstream on the Danube. The parliament decision said Bulgaria should consider the possibilities of bringing the newer generators back online in cooperation with Brussels.

Bulgarian officials, mostly President Georgi Parvanov, loudly interceded for the restart of the old Kozloduy installations during the Russia-Ukraine gas row, which hit Bulgaria hard, causing its industry damages in excess of 130 million dollars, reported.

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