Bulgarian Socialist Party reaffirms determination that Belene nuclear power station should be built

Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Sergei Stanishev has reaffirmed the determination of his party, currently in power, that the Belene nuclear power station project should go ahead.

Speaking in Koprinka at the 10th annual national convention of Russophiles on September 7, Stanishev underlined support for the Russian-linked Belene project as well as the South Stream pipeline project.

Belene, planned about three decades ago by Bulgaria’s communist regime, was only partly built but the project was formally shut down by Bulgaria’s centre-right then-government in early 2012.

A January 2013 national referendum on the issue drew a turnout too low to be decisive, although the “yes” vote was marginally in favour. The issue was referred to Parliament where the centre-right GERB party held to its opposition to Belene, on which the then-government had pulled the plug because of a prolonged failure to attract any investors and the conclusion that the project could not be economically viable for Bulgaria.

A few weeks after this referendum, national protests were mobilised around electricity prices and when there was an incident of violence in Sofia during these protests, GERB leader Boiko Borissov resigned, precipitating the early elections that enabled the BSP – through it ran only second – to come to power.

After the 100-day mark of the BSP government, little has been done on energy issues, barring some tinkering to keep consumer prices down, the long-term effect of which remains to be seen.

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