Bulgaria’s Westinghouse nuclear deal irks socialist circles

Bulgaria’s former economy minister Dragomir Stoynev has been forced, once again, to defend the nuclear deal with US firm Westinghouse from criticism within his own party, the socialists.

The Plamen Oresharski cabinet, which officially ended its term on August 6, signed last week a shareholder agreement with Westinghouse to build a 1000MW nuclear reactor at Bulgaria’s sole nuclear power plant at Kozloduy.

Stoynev, who was elevated to deputy leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) in early July and came close to becoming the new party leader only 10 days ago, has been the main target of harsh criticism inside the party in recent days.

Speaking to private Bulgarian broadcaster bTV on August 7, Stoynev sought to deflect the criticism, saying that it was not his decision alone to sign the agreement.

“There are three cabinet decisions on the issue, it has been discussed in three boardrooms. I am not the one signing the contract. All the [former] ministers and the [former] prime minister are familiar with it,” Stoynev said.

BSP’s leadership has also met with Westinghouse management, he said, although he did not say when that happened. Just days before the signing, however, Westinghouse CEO Danny Roderick visited Bulgaria to meet with senior politicians and assess support for the $5.3 billion project.

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(Bulgaria’s sole nuclear power plant at Kozloduy. Photo: uvioc/flickr.com)