Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

MINISTER ARSENOVA COMPENSATES TRAKIYA RM BY BGN8.9MN

The State will compensate by BGN8,953,169 (VAT excluded) the former uranium extracting enterprise Trakiya RM. According to the intentions of its new owner - Kollo OOD, the money will be used for elimination of old ecological damages, inflicted prior the company's privatisation. The Minister of Environment and Waters Dolores Arsenova had given her consent for that back on April 26, or several days before the BANKER published (in Issue 22, dated April 29) the article Trakiya RM will get BGN9MN from the State. Then, Boyko Mladenov, head of the ministry's Prevention of Industrial Pollutions department, was explaining at great length to a reporter of the newspaper the procedure under which the rehabilitation programme for the enterprise was approved by the High Ecological Expert Council and how it was to be considered also by the Interdepartmental Ecological Expert Council. However, Mr. Malinov did not say a word about the already given approval by Ms. Arsenova.As the BANKER already wrote, Kollo OOD, run by Dimiter Peichev, a deputy from NMSII, and his wife Halina, bought the uranium producing giant in June 2004 against BGN1,488,000. Several months after the privatisation, the owner demanded from the State a six-fold bigger amount as a compensation, under the pretence that radioactive pollution had been found on five concrete sites - Tsarimir, Momino, Rakovsky, Belozem and Debur, on which the extracted uranium was gathered. Despite the fact that by 2001 they were properly cleaned by the state-run Econengineering RM EOOD, and in May 2004 the National Centre of Radio Biology and Radiation Protection came out with a stance that as a result of recultivation, deactivation and liquidation work, the radioactive waste indicators were within the admissible norms for secondary use. That was written in the enterprise's information memorandum after radiometric and dosimetric measurements carried out. The experts from the National Centre hardly suspected that just a few months later the heavy metal thorium 230 would mysteriously appear on the same site. Curious in that connection is the stance of the former principal of Trakiya RM - the Ministry of Energy and Energy Resources - signed by Energy Minister Miroslav Sevlievsky on May 4. It was in reply to an MP's question and it says that in 1999 the work on the surface cleaning and deactivation of concrete sites was completed, and the radioactive wastes were stored in the dump of the Zvezda plant. The Energy Ministry experts wrote that radiometric surface measurements were carried out after the completion of rehabilitation and a second rehabilitation was made at the places where partial local pollution was found. The measurements afterwards did not establish presence of heavy metals above the admissible concentration limits. Regarding your question about the presence of thorium 230, experts explain, we informed you that the metal is principally a co-element in some polymetal uranium ores and as such could be present in the extraction and processing of the uranium ore. But how then it was not detected by the measuring instruments of the National Centre of Radio Biology and Radiation Protection, which carried out monitoring of the former uranium fields of Trakiya RM both in 2003 and 2004?Anyway, Minister Sevlievsky's admits: The fact that the National Centre has found that the levels of gama radiation were within the normal limits shows that the presence of thorium 230 was insignificant at the moment of that evaluation. In April 2004 the Energy Ministry approved the divestiture of Trakiya RM on condition that the future owner may not claim damages due to former ecological pollutions. On April 22 the ex energy minister Milko Kovachev sent a letter to the then acting director of the Privatisation Agency (PA) Stanislav Ananiev, saying that it was of vital importance when divesting Trakiya RM that the PA defines in the sale contract commitments on the part of the future owner, on the grounds of which he shall not have the right to destroy or violate the integrity of the sites, recultivated as per the provisions of letter No 74 of the Council of Ministers. The PA, on its part, replied that this condition was included in the sale contract. Therefore, it is only logical to ask on what grounds the MP Peichev demands compensation and Minister Dolores Arsenova gives it to him?

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