EU lends money for modernisation of Bulgarian nuclear plant

EU’s loan for the safety upgrade of Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant meets with disagreement of environmentalist.

The European Commission approved a loan on 18 April on behalf of Euratom to the Bulgarian National Electrical Company for the safety upgrade and modernisation of units 5 and 6 at Kozloduy nuclear power plant in Bulgaria.

In November 1999 the Commission and Bulgaria signed an Understanding in which Bulgaria agrees to definitively close the non-upgradeable Kozloduy units 1 and 2 before the year 2003 and units 3 and 4 earlier than their scheduled end of life. The Commission understands this latter closure will take place in 2006 at the latest.

The Euratom loan approval is part of the agreement reached on the closures of the older and less technically advanced units. The project will contribute significantly to the environment and general nuclear safety not only of Bulgaria but also to that of adjacent countries.

The Friends of the Earth Europe regret that the loan was given without insisting on a fixed closure date for the highrisk reactors in Kozloduj. “With this decision, the chance will be given away to make sure that Europe’s most dangerous reactors are taken off the grid,” says the environmental organisation.

“The announced Euratom loan for the modernization of Kozloduj NPP units 5 and 6 (VVER 1000/320) is a continuation of the inconsistent strategy that the Commission has been pursuing in recent years which has failed to assure the closure of any nuclear power plant in the region,” say FoE Europe. FoE Europe calls upon the responsible Commissioners, Wallström (Environment) and Verheugen (Enlargement), to stop this loan and demand the agreed closure of the high-risk reactors Kozloduj 1 . 4.

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