Bulgaria abandons Belene nuclear plant

MOSCOW. March 29. KAZINFORM Bulgaria has abandoned plans to build a nuclear power plant with a Russian reactor at Belene, which Sofia and Moscow agreed on in 2008, the country's Deputy Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said on Wednesday, according to RIA Novosti.

A natural gas power plant will be built on the site instead, Goranov told journalists after a government meeting.

The nuclear reactor, which has already been assembled by Russian state nuclear power corporation Rosatom's subsidiary Atomstroyexport and was originally meant for Belene, will be used in Kozloduy, Bulgaria's only nuclear power plant, bringing the number of reactors there to three.

Delyan Dobrev, Bulgaria's energy minister, will head to Moscow on Thursday to formally tell the Russian leadership of the decision to abandon the Belene project, the Sofia News Agency reported.

Sofia will pay Moscow some 100 million euros ($133.5 million) for the reactor's design and installation, according to the Bgnes news agency.

The Belene plant has been plagued by development problems including its spiralling price. Bulgaria said it could not afford the plant, and German investor electric power and gas utility RWE pulled out in 2009.

Opposition to the project was also voiced by environmentalists.

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