Bulgaria is putting pressure on the European Commission (EC) to speed up its inspection of units 3 and 4 at Kozloduy, claiming delays are impacting on the country’s negotiations with Brussels over joining the European Union (EU). In a letter to the EC, Bulgaria’s energy minister Milko Kovachev urged the EC to set a firm date for inspections on the reactors.

In its accession talks, Bulgaria last year agreed to shut down the units in 2006 even though they have been modernised. At the time, the EC agreed that an EU mission would be sent to inspect these reactors this year. Sofia hopes that inspectors will conclude they are safe enough for the EC to reopen discussions on the future of Kozloduy 3 and 4, maybe agreeing for them to remain operating past 2006.

Bulgaria would lose a fifth of its energy generating capacity if the two units were closed.

Bulgaria is due to complete its accession negotiations in 2004, with a view to full membership in 2007.