Bulgaria's government said it decided to add a new unit to the country's sole nuclear power plant, after recently dropping a project to build another nuclear plant.
"The construction of the new nuclear capacity will be carried out after obtaining licences and permits in compliance with the national legislation and the European Union law," the cabinet said in a statement following a regular weekly meeting on Wednesday.
With this decision Bulgaria opens a procedure to find an investor for the project, the state-run Bulgarian National Radio quoted finance minister Simeon Dyankov as saying after the meeting. The new unit will be built according to market principles, without state loans or government guarantees, he added.
The Kozloduy nuclear power plant remained with just two operational reactors of 1,000 megawatts (MW) each after the government closed down four units of 440 MW each to address nuclear safety concerns of the European Union prior to the country's accession to the bloc. Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007.
In 2008 Bulgaria hired Russia's Atomstroyexport to build a 2,000 MW nuclear plant at Belene, on the Danube, relaunching a project that had been frozen for nearly two decades. However, little progress was made due to pricing disagreements between Bulgaria and Russia. In the beginning of March Atomstroyexport said it planned to deliver the first 1,000 MW reactor for the plant by mid-April. A week later Bulgaria decided to halt the project, saying the addition of a new unit at the Kozloduy site using the equipment that has already been manufactured for Belene is a more realistic option than building a new plant.