Bulgaria technically voted yes to the development of a new nuclear power plant in a referendum taken at the weekend, however the especially low turnout has invalidated the result.

The result of the country’s first referendum since the fall of communism could only be valid if 4.35 million out of 6.9 million eligible voters take part, but the failure to meet that criterion means relief for Prime Minister Boiko Borisov who had abandoned the multi-billion-dollar project.
Boiko Borisov
Roughly 60 per cent voted for a 2000 MW plant at Belene on the Danube River, while 40 per cent opposed it, Gallup International and Alpha Research exit polls showed. Turnout was about 21 per cent.

But under the voting rules, if more than 20 per cent of eligible voters took part and more than half of them voted in favour, the issue will be sent to parliament, where Borisov’s GERB party has a working majority, for a final decision.

Borisov, struggling to revive the economy, cancelled the construction of Belene in March saying the Balkan country could not afford estimated costs of more than $13.5bn, and after failing to attract Western investors.

He has commented after this election that if the result is sent to parliament that his party will again reject it.

Bulgaria has an operational 2,000 megawatt nuclear power plant at Kozloduy and has hired U.S. firm Westinghouse to draw up plans to add another 1000 MW unit at the site.

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