Bulgaria will ask the EU to finance NPP Belene under the Just Transition Mechanism of the Green Deal

Bulgaria will ask the EU to finance NPP Belene under the Just Transition Mechanism of the Green Deal

The Bulgarian government will insist on help for nuclear power from the EU under the Just Transition Mechanism of the Green Deal Investment Plan, a government position says. The document outlines Bulgaria’s official stance of the Green Deal. The position expresses overall support of the plans but stresses harder on the issue of helping the most affected countries - like Bulgaria - with the transition.

Although the document is not critical of the milestones set in the new ecological policies of the EU, it has something to say about most of the ideas. One notable instance of a measure entirely rejected is lowering carbon emissions by 50% to 55% by 2030 compared to 1999. Bulgaria will instead maintain the rates agreed upon in the Paris accord of 40% reduction.

Although the Bulgarian government seems at least in theory to support the Green Deal in general, the process of actually implementing it is apparently the greatest problem for the country.

The Bulgarian government strongly emphasizes the high costs of the transitions which the country needs to make under the Green Deal. The high costs, the government argues, will spike electricity prices, which in turn will affect the competitiveness and growth of the economy. Nearly every sector of the economy affected by the deal will need financial aids to help them through the transition, the position assesses.

Subsidizing a new nuclear power plant is part of Bulgaria’s asks for the transition period.

NPP Belene is a project conceived in the 80s, abandoned and revived countless times throughout the years. The plant is Soviet by design and if built will count on Russian technology and support. PM Boyko Borissov famously abandoned the project during his previous government calling it а “corruption swamp”. He decided to revive it in 2018 only if the project finds a foreign investor, who is wiling to build it without state subsidies or guarantees.

A month ago, Vice PM Tomislav Donchev implied the Green Deal amplifies the need for NPP Belene during an economic forum in Sofia.

“There isn’t a single document outlining how long any given power plant would operate. This puts the subject of a new nuclear plant back on the table with full force,” Donchev said. He told reporters then that the government estimates the full cost of the transition to comply with the Green Deal plus NPP Belene to be 20 billion euro.

It seems this idea has developed further over the past month and has found its way into the official plan “Energy and Climate”, which the government is yet to send to Brussels. The 10 billion for NPP Belene are a third of the whole plan, which costs a total of 33 billion euro. Additional costs raise the final number to about 45 billion euro.

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