Kozloduy will be closed under new energy strategy

The Bulgarian government has unveiled a new energy strategy which will involve investing over $946m by 2001 and reflects its efforts to join the European Union. Within the strategy are plans to decommission Kozloduy nuclear power plant and restructure and privatize the energy sector.

The four Soviet-designed 440 MW reactors at Kozloduy will be closed by 2012. Funds for decommissioning the reactors and for building a radioactive waste storage facility at the site will be set up next year. Bulgaria relies on Kozloduy for nearly half of its electricity demand, and has until now resisted pressure from the European Union to close the plant.

The government is also planning to restructure and privatize the industry. One of the first generating units to be sold is the thermal power plant at Rousse. Liberalization of energy prices will take place after 2001.

The country`s largest thermal power plant at the Maritsa East mining complex will be upgraded by 2005 under the new strategy. A new 600 MW plant replacing an old unit at the complex will be built; this will be jointly operated by a Bulgarian and foreign firm, and bids for the establishment of this joint venture will be accepted by the end of this month.

The energy plans envisage closing two reactors at Kozloduy by 2005 and two between 2008 and 2012. The government will re-examine the need for new nuclear capacity in 2005.