Nuclear compensation victory for Bulgaria

27 October 2009

Bulgaria has won an extension of financial support from the European Commission for the early shutdown of nuclear power reactors at Kozloduy.


The extra €300 million ($440 million) over three years from 2010 is to help the country adapt and improve its energy networks and takes the overall compensation package to €850 million ($1.2 billion). Four functioning reactors at Kozloduy were shut down early as part of the country's deal to join the European Union with the loss of over 1600 MWe in generating capacity. This ended the country's role as a major regional exporter of power and lead to the loss of many local high-tech jobs.


"This investment in a safer and more sustainable Bulgarian energy network illustrates our desire to see Bulgaria fully integrated in the common European energy market," said EC President José Manuel Barroso.


Kozloduy 3 and 4
Kozloduy's two remaining reactors, numbers 5 and 6, provide
about 35% of Bulgarian electricity. The closure of units 3 and 4
was controversial given extensive safety upgrades that had been
carried out. The Bulgarian government even prepared for temporary
restarts during the gas crisis of early 2009 when all supply was lost
Similar shutdowns of Soviet-era reactors have taken place in Slovakia and Lithuania, and the latter's last Ignalina reactor is set to close at the end of this year. Both these countries, as well as Bulgaria, have sought to replace old nuclear with new nuclear with the plan in Bulgaria to build two large pressurized water reactors at Belene. This project still appears to be on track thanks to heavy Russian involvement despite severe difficulty in securing private finance.