Voter turnout in Sunday's referendum in Bulgaria on the construction of a second nuclear power plant (NPP) in the country stood at 20.225%, final data of the Central Electoral Commission showed.
Under the country's legislation, the outcome of the referendum will be recognised as valid if at least 4.3 million people vote, as many as in the latest parliamentary elections. However, if turnout is above 20% with at least half of the voters saying 'yes' the issue has to be included in parliament's agenda.
As many as 60.6% voted in favour of the construction of a second nuclear power plant (NPP), CEC data published on its website on Tuesday showed.
A total of 37.96% of people who went to the polls answered negatively to the referendum question, worded as follows: "Should we develop nuclear energy in the Republic of Bulgaria by building a new nuclear plant?"
As many as 1,405,463 out of a total of 6,949,120 eligible voters cast a ballot in the referendum.
The referendum was initiated by the opposition Socialist party after in 2012 Bulgaria's centre-right government abandoned plans to build a 2,000 megawatt (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 ($13.9 billion), while the Russian side estimated it at some 6.3 billion euro.
Bulgaria has one NPP, in the Danubian town of Kozloduy, which remained with two operational reactors of 1,000 megwatts (MW) each 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. In April 2012 the government decided to add another 1,000 MW reactor to the Koloduy plant.