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SOFIA, March 29 (Itar-Tass) — Deputies of the National Assembly (Parliament) of Bulgaria on Thursday adopted a draft decision on the refusal from the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant. The Bulgarian lawmakers had to hold a second vote on which deputy of the Coalition for Bulgaria Yanaki Stoilov insisted in order to make this decision. Taking part in the voting were 163 parliamentarians, 120 of whom voted for, 42 – against, and one lawmaker abstained.
Before the vote, the MPs actively discussed the government’s decision to withdraw from the Belene NPP project that was made on Wednesday. Most of the deputies from the opposition parties did not support the Belene project rejection. Thus, representative of the Ataka party Pavel Shopov expressed doubts about the seriousness of the government’s statements on mounting a nuclear reactor for the Belene NPP as the seventh power unit at the Kozloduy NPP, and on the construction of a gas power station instead of a nuclear. “We all understand that the proposed gas station project will not be implemented. The idea to build the seventh unit at the Kozloduy NPP and move there the reactor as if it was furniture also causes doubt,” Shopov said.
The Belene nuclear power plant was planned 3 km from Belene and 11 km from Svishtov in Pleven Province, northern Bulgaria, near the Danube River. It was intended to substitute four VVER-440 V230 reactors of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant that were decommissioned as a prerequisite for Bulgaria to join the European Union.
Co-chairman of the Blue Coalition, loyal to the government, Ivan Kostov, who has traditionally opposed the implementation of the Belene NPP project, said from the parliamentary rostrum that the project cannot be implemented. According to him, “the forces that started this project had no intention to accomplish it.” “There was no prefeasibility study (for the Belene NPP). We have not seen any figures that would give some information about its construction, how the station would be made effective,” said Kostov, expressing doubts about the safety of the nuclear power industry for the environment, drawing parallels with the man-made disasters at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.