Банкеръ Weekly

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BELENE N-PLANT PROJECT GOES TO THEMIS AGAIN

Two lies about the Belene nuclear power plant were told in Bulgaria's Council of Ministers in April. The second lie could deceive the environmentalists, but the entire Cabinet was taken in by the first one. That is what the Ecoglasnost national movement said on Wednesday (May 18) after the organisation filed a new signal to the Prosecutor's Office against the project for the second N-plant in this country. According to the ecologists, representatives of the Council of Ministers tried to conceal the lack of an evaluation about the radioactive wastes and the exhausted nuclear fuel, which is a must under article 45 of the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy Act when a new N-plant is built. According to Ecoglasnost, such a report has not been enclosed when the Council of Ministers made a decision to open a procedure for the construction of the Belene N-plant, which compromised not only the project, but Bulgaria's Government as well. The second lie is in the Cabinet's refusal to ensure for Ecoglasnost access to all materials of the project, including the two above-mentioned evaluations.There is an evaluation about the radioactive wastes from Belene and it is a part of chapter 4 of the technical and economic analysis for the construction of the N-plant, the Energy Ministry said. An assessment has been made also of the exhausted nuclear fuel for each of the seven versions of the project for Belene's construction, proposed by the consultants. A study about the radioactive wastes has been made even for the most extreme solutions such as the Candu reactor of the Canadian company AECL, although that technology was rejected still when the report on Belene's impact on the environment was approved, the Energy Ministry explained. Insiders confirmed that a consortium between the Russian Atomstroyexport, the French Framatom, and Germany's Siemens, has already paid EUR70,000 to buy the tender dossiers for participation in the procedure invited on May 10 for awarding a public procurement for the construction of the Belene N-plant.During the second day of the Stability Pact's meeting in Sofia Bernard Snoy, Director of the organisation's panel of experts on international trade, said that the Belene N-plant would be necessary only after 2015. He quoted the preliminary research of the World Bank, according which the expected demand for electricity in Southeastern Europe for a period of 10 to 20 years justifies the need of additional power capacities of thermoelectric power stations in the first place. The projects which would be most efficient economically for meeting the additional needs of electricity in the Balkans, are thermoelectric power plants in Kosovo. The construction of an unit in Belene as the most advantageous source for satisfying the needs in the region could be considered only after 2015, Mr. Snoy added. In his words, the integration in the Balkans will considerably reduce the volume of future investments in the power engineering sector of Southeastern Europe.

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