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Bulgaria gets 73.8-mln-euro aid for shut nuclear units
by Staff Writers
Sofia (AFP) June 28, 2011

Bulgaria signed grant agreements on Tuesday to receive 73.8 million euros ($105.3 million) for energy projects as compensation for shutting down four units at its Kozloduy nuclear plant ahead of joining the EU in 2007.

The Balkan country had already received a total of 575 million euros as compensation from an EBRD-operated international decommissioning support fund for Kozloduy as the plant's partial closure cost the country its position as a top electricity exporter in the region.

"Some people see this money as the cost of the shut nuclear reactors but for us it is funds to use for restructuring, rehabilitation and modernisation of Bulgaria's energy sector," Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said Tuesday.

Bulgaria will spend the additional 73.8 million euros donated on Tuesday to build new electricity transmission lines, rehabilitate Sofia's ageing heating network and continue decommissioning of the four shut Kozloduy reactors.

"I am convinced that the joint success in implementing these programmes will help greatly in achieving the important goal of securing additonal funding in the EU budget beyond 2013," said Vince Novak, director of EBRD's Nuclear Safety Department that manages the Kozloduy decomissioning fund.

Bulgaria's government has applied to get 450 million euros more after 2013, Traikov said.

Only two Soviet-built 1,000-megawatt reactors remain operational at Kozloduy, while another project for a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant at Belene has been stalled over safety concerns and cost haggling with its Russian builder Atomstroyexport.

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