The European Commission is to give EUR500m ($666m) towards the decommissioning of ageing Soviet-type nuclear reactors in Eastern Europe.

The money will be divided between the Kozloduy, Ignalina and Bohunice plants in, respectively, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia.

Bulgaria will receive EUR185m until 2020, Lithuania EUR210m until 2017 and Slovakia EUR105m also until 2017.

EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger today said: “It is in our citizens’ interest that these reactors will be safely decommissioned and never restarted.”

Oettinger also announced that the EC’s stress tests of all 143 EU nuclear reactors – undertaken in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in March – were “well on track”.

The tests are underway in all countries concerned and are due to be completed early next year.

Oettinger said: “The stress tests are an essential step in our efforts to enhance the safety and security of nuclear power plants in Europe. We cannot accept anything less than the highest possible technical standards.”