Kozloduy closure dispute: parliament to debate date

3 April 2002

Following a visit to the Kozloduy plant by the Bulgarian parliamentary commission on energy, the parliament is to discuss whether to keep units 3 and 4 in operation up to 2010, four years later than European Union demands. No date has been made for the debate, although it is hoped that the motion will be put forward within the next few months.

In 1999, Bulgaria pledged to close units 1 and 2 before 2003, and said it would agree on a date for the closure of units 3 and 4 this year. Sofia wanted them closed in 2008 and 2010, respectively, but the EU has stipulated that units 3 and 4 should close in 2006 at the latest. The issue came to a head after Bulgarian prime minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, made a comment that implied closure in 2006 (see NEI February 2002, p4 or see links below).

More recently, the EU once again restated that the four units should be closed in accordance with the 1999 agreement. EU chief negotiator Michael Lee said last month: "I underline the importance that we attach to the commitments that we made at the start of accession negotiations." Under the 1999 accord, Bulgaria was offered 200 million Euros in aid from 2000-2006, but half of this will be confirmed by the European Commission after the closure date for units 3 and 4 is agreed.

Kozloduy's six reactors accounted for nearly 45% of the country's electricity production in 2001.
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