EU financial support for closing Bulgarian nuclear power plant perceived as a “high risk” facility for accidents

The EU is planning to prolong its financial support for the decommissioning of four blocks of the nuclear power plant at Kozloduy in Bulgaria until the end of 2013. On Thursday MEPs backed proposals to earmark €300 million for site cleaning and safe treatment of radioactive waste but they also called for stricter financial controls and more investment in energy efficiency.

During its negotiations to join the European Union, Bulgaria agreed to the early closure of Units 1-4 of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant and the EU agreed to provide financial assistance up to 2009 for the decommissioning. Since the process is not yet complete, the Commission has drafted a regulation enabling the programme to continue at least until the current multi-annual EU budget ends in 2013.  Parliament is being consulted on this regulation.

Funding the alternatives to reduce carbon footprint

MEPs would like a clear commitment that, of the proposed total sum of €300 million for the Kozloduy programme in the next three years, €180 million should be spent on decommissioning and €120 million on energy saving measures. MEPs want the regulation to include a detailed breakdown of the programme’s individual projects, such as technical assistance, salaries for employed experts, construction of the radioactive waste disposal facility, and treatment of dismantled waste.

The early closure of Kozloduy has already led to significant additional greenhouse gas emissions, so even though the programme’s primary goal remains decommissioning, it must also contribute to modernisation of energy production, including renewable energy, new sustainable jobs and industries, says Parliament.

Stricter auditing, detailed reporting

The programme will be monitored by the Commission and may be audited, either by the Commission or outside qualified auditors, at any time during the programme. However, MEPs also want the Parliament and the Court of Auditors to have the same rights of access to the beneficiary’s offices and want OLAF to be able to carry out on-the-spot checks.

Finally, Parliament believes that the ex-post evaluation of the project must contain a complete and precise budget of the costs for decommissioning a nuclear power plant, including an analysis of the economic, social and environmental costs.

Parliament’s legislative resolution, drafted by Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA, DE) for the EP Industry Committee, was adopted by 518 votes to 17 with 73 abstentions.

A copy of the text adopted by the Parliament detailing this assistance is available by clicking here.

Citation:  Press Release of the European Parliament REF. : 20100518IPR74700

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