Bulgaria has decided to halt the construction of a second nuclear power plant in the country, choosing instead to add a new 1,000 megawatt (MW) reactor to its existing nuclear power station in Kozloduy, the government said.
"The economy and energy minister has been tasked with drafting a proposal for the addition of a new nuclear capacity on the site of the Kozloduy power plant," the cabinet said in a statement following a regular weekly meeting on Wednesday.
The Belene project, launched in the late 1980s, had been frozen for nearly two decades before Bulgaria hired Russia's Atomstroyexport in 2008 to build the 2,000 MW power plant. However, little progress has been made since due to pricing disagreements between Bulgaria and Russia. Earlier this month, Atomstroyexport said it plans to deliver the first 1,000 MW reactor for the plant in mid-April.
The addition of a new unit at the Kozloduy site using the equipment that has already been manufactured is a more realistic option than building a new plant in Belene, on the Danube, because the bulk of the related infrastructure is already in place, the project could be diversified and it would create more opportunities to find a strategic investor, the government said.
"Besides, the construction of a 1,000 MW nuclear capacity comes closer to Bulgaria's financial capabilities and energy needs," it added.
Bulgaria will have to pay a further 140 million euro ($187 million) for the reactor already manufactured by Atomstroyexport for the Belene project which will now be installed in Kozloduy, news portal Dnevnik quoted prime minister Boiko Borisov as telling reporters in the afternoon.
Earlier in the day, the state-run Bulgarian National Radio quoted deputy finance minister Vladislav Goranov as saying that Bulgaria will build a gas-fired power station on the site originally designated for the Belene nuclear plant.