Bulgaria Will Hold Referendum on Construction of Nuclear Plant

Bulgaria’s Parliament decided to hold a referendum on whether to continue with the construction of a nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube or build a new reactor at the existing Kozloduy power plant.

Parliament voted 106 to 7 in favor of a referendum, Speaker Tsetska Tsatcheva said in the assembly in the capital Sofia today. Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s Cabinet canceled on March 28 a 10 billion-euro ($12.25 billion) project to build a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant at Belene with Rosatom Corp., Russia’s state nuclear company, after failing to agree on its cost and find Western investors.

Rosatom increased a 58 million-euro claim against Bulgaria’s National Electricity Co., filed with the International Court of Arbitration in Paris in 2011, to 1 billion euros on Sept. 11 to cover construction work and production costs on the canceled project.

Bulgaria filed a 61 million-euro claim against Rosatom with an arbitration court in Geneva a year ago, for the purchase of old equipment.

The referendum may be held at the same time as parliamentary elections, scheduled for the middle of next year, to save money, Borissov said on Aug. 1.

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