News / 6 April 2012

No second nuclear power plant in Belene, Bulgaria

Plans to open a second nuclear power plant in Bulgaria have been cancelled. On March 28, Minister for finance Vladislav Goranov announced that instead of a nuclear plant, a gas plant will be built in the small town of Belene. This is good news: In the past years, Both ENDS and other civil society organisations have strongly resisted the possible construction of the power plant.

The plans for a new nuclear power plant in Bulgaria originated in the early seventies and in 1981 it was decided that a plant would be built in Belene. After the collapse of the communist regime, the entire project was abandoned, but in 2002 the Bulgarian government decided to use the partly built construction and bring the project back to life. The search for technical, economic and financial means started.

Through the years, Bulgarian environmental organisations and citizens have battled the coming of a nuclear power plant in a communal BeleNE! Campaign. Organisations such as Greenpeace, CEE Bankwatch, Friends of the Earth and Both ENDS shared the concerns of the local population about the safety of using nuclear technology, and the possible consequences for tourism and agriculture. Another cause for concern was the fact that Belene is situated in a seismic area. Alternative solutions to nuclear energy were continually advocated.

The end
The end of the project came in sight when it turned out that the project would have to depend on American or European investors. In 2009 German RWE had already pulled the plug on the project. After the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in Japan, the European Commission wished to reevaluate the project entirely. Division between Russia and Bulgaria on the expenses speeded up the discharge of the project. Even though plans for a new nuclear project in Kozloduy are supposedly being made, we can assume that in the near future a new nuclear plant won't be opened in Bulgaria.


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