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Parliament Votes Down Motion to Reverse Decision on Suspension of Belene N-plant Project

Parliament Votes Down Motion to Reverse Decision on Suspension of Belene N-plant Project

Parliament Votes Down Motion to Reverse Decision on Suspension of  Belene N-plant Project

Sofia, January 11 (BTA) - Parliament voted down Wednesday a motion to reverse a decision for scrapping the Belene N-plant project. The motion was defeated on 64-50 votes with 24 abstentions.

The decision to suspend the Belene project as financially unviable was adopted by Parliament on March 29, 2012.

The Socialists proposed to Parliament to mandate the government to ensure the continuation of the project. They argued that it is to the best national interest.

According to the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the idea to get the equipment which had been produced for the project prior to its suspension and for which Bulgaria had already paid, and to build an N-plant with own efforts or sell the equipment to another country, will not work out. They argued that out of 34 nuclear reactors that Rosatom is building across the world, only two are of the same type as those for Belene.

The only solution is to finish Belene with a strategic investor, with BUlgaria's National Electricity Company participating with in-kind contribution - or else to sell the project for which one precondition exists: revoking the decision of the National Assembly for its suspension, the Socialists said.

Delyan Dobrev (GERB) said that the motion BSP have moved is for revoking only one of the decisions on Belene's suspension, that of Parliament. "This debate makes no sense and wastes Parliament's time," he added.

His fellow GERB deputy Valentin Nikolov said: "Clearly, what we are doing now is campaigning for the upcoming general elections."

GERB explained that a month ago the government made a decision to commission a feasibility study about the possible use of the equipment that had been built for Belene, on a market principle with no direct or indirect participation of the government, no government guarantees or any promises for long-term purchase of electricity.

Martin Dimitrov of the Reformist Bloc urged the legislature to reconfirm its decision for the project's suspension. He said that it has been taxpayers who footed the Belene bill so far, including an international arbitration award for hundreds of millions of leva that Bulgaria was ordered to pay to contractor Atomstroyexport, and that there has only been talk of investors.

"Even if an investor is found, the costs will gradually be passed on to the Bulgarian state," he warned.

He also said that it is not clear where Belene would possibly export the electricity it could produce.

"Belene has always had a price tag of over 20 billion leva which BSP wants to take from the public purse and spend," Dimitrov said.

Source: Sofia