Parl Confirms Decision to Abandon NPP Project

Parl Confirms Decision to Abandon NPP Project

Bulgaria's parliament confirmed its decision to abandon a project for the construction of a second nuclear power plant (NPP) in the country.

Under the Constitution, the issue had to be included in parliament's agenda as voter turnout in a recent referendum on the future of the project exceeded, albeit marginally, 20%.

With 114 votes in favour and 40 against, the MPs confirmed their decision of March 29, 2012 to scrap the project, the state-run Bulgarian National Television reported.

In the referendum held on January 27 as many as 60.6% voted in favour of the construction of a second nuclear power plant. However, the outcome of the referendum was not recognized as valid as voter turnout was less than in the latest parliamentary elections when 4.3 million people went to the polls.

The referendum was initiated by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party after the country abandoned plans to build a 2,000 megawatts (MW) plant, for which it had hired Russia's Atomstroyexport, due to disagreement over its estimated cost and failure to attract a strategic investor. According to the government in Sofia, the project would cost at least 10.35 billion euro ($13.5 billion), while the Russian side estimated it at some 6.3 billion euro.

Bulgaria's sole NPP at the Danubian town of Kozloduy remained with two operational reactors after the country closed down four units of 440 MW each to address nuclear safety concerns of the European Union prior to its accession to the bloc. Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. In April 2012 the government decided to add another 1,000 MW reactor to the Kozloduy plant.

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