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Alternate FM Xenogiannakopoulou’s reply to a question in Parliament from Pasok MP D. Papoutsis

Alternate FM Xenogiannakopoulou’s reply to a question in Parliament from Pasok MP D. Papoutsis regarding the “latest developments and information regarding the Bulgarian nuclear power plants of Kozloduy and Belene.”

Ms. Xenogiannakopoulou: First of all, I would like to thank my dear colleague, Mr. Papoutsis, who is bringing this matter to Parliament, because I understand the interest there is in this matter. I would like to take this opportunity to make two general observations before I proceed to my reply. And first of all I would like to say that you all know that the position of the Greek government – and, I think, the long-standing position of all Greek governments – is that we don’t choose nuclear energy. This is a firm position that we support within the framework of the European Union. And I also want to say that it was a direction in which we contributed in the conclusions of the recent European Council, which focused, among other things, on EU energy strategy.

The second observation is that the member states of the European Union have the right to choose. We have made our choice. Bulgaria has the right, just as do all the member states, to make its choice. But, my dear colleague, following strict safety regulations, specific inspection and monitoring procedures. So that is the general political framework.

Beyond that, my answer to your question is that since 2003 there has been ongoing monitoring by inspectors of the European Union and international organizations. Moreover, upgrading and modernization work has been carried out on the Kozloduy reactors. In October 2009, the Commission granted a sum of €300 million in addition to what it had given in the past. €550 million had already been provided in the time before Bulgaria’s accession to the EU to stop operation of the reactors for cleaning and waste management.

The upgrading of the reactors, which was completed in 2006, was carried out in accordance with international standards, and the reactors have received operation permits until 2017 and 2019, respectively, but under the strict regulations I referred to earlier. Beyond that, according to all the inspections and the data we have from the European Organs, the operation of reactors five and six, to which you referred, according to the conclusions of the inspections of the above-mentioned organizations, meet international safety regulations.

Now, regarding the more specific issue you raised in your question: the construction of the Belene nuclear plant has been under discussion by Bulgarian governments for a number of years now. According to the data on the reactor that has been chosen, the proposed technology has multiple safety systems and is fully in line – according to the information we have – with international and European regulations. In any case, I want to assure you that at the same time, we, as the Greek government, and, naturally, within the framework of all the potential for monitoring that exists on the European level, we are watching developments closely and, naturally, we are at your disposal to keep you apprised of developments on this matter.

Last Updated Thursday, 10 February 2011