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Last Updated: Monday, 3 May, 2004, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Bulgaria to build nuclear plant
Kozloduy plant
The Soviet-built Kozloduy plant began operating in 1974
Bulgaria will resume construction of its unfinished nuclear power plant at Belene on the River Danube, the authorities in Sofia have announced.

Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg said his government would choose a private investor by the end of the year.

Bulgaria's nuclear energy programme has been the focus of disputes with neighbouring Romania and the EU.

The Sofia government has agreed to close four Soviet-designed reactors at its only working plant at Kozloduy.

The two oldest reactors there have already been shut down.

At Belene work ended in the early 1990s because of financial problems, and following protests from environmental groups and Romania.

The government says completing the project will cost $2bn - but financing details would be worked out later.

"The plant is necessary to secure stable and affordable energy for the country," Mr Saxe-Coburg said.

"It will also help Bulgaria keep its leading position on the energy market after 2010," he added.

Decommissioning of Bulgaria's old nuclear reactors was a condition for accession talks with the European Union.

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02 Dec 99  |  Europe

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