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Clean energy solution for Bulgaria

Background - August 9, 2005
Discover the problems with proposed Belene nuclear plant and the real clean energy solution for Bulgaria.

The construction of the proposed 2000MW nuclear plant at Belene will:

  • Commit the local people of Belena, Bulgaria and the wider Central European Region to 40 years of continuing radioactive threat.
  • Add nothing to the Bulgaria's long term energy security as the country already produces more power than it uses.
  • Increase the likelihood of a serious nuclear accident since thereactor is due to be built close to a geological fault line prone tosignificant seismic activity.  
  • Contaminate the local environment, polluting the soil, the underground water supply and the Danube river.
  • Cost the people of Bulgaria over US$3bn.
  • Deflect investment away from the real solution to the challengesof both climate change and energy security - renewable energy andenergy efficiency.
  • Create a target for possible terrorist strikes.
  • Radioactive contamination will affect key local industries like wine-making, agriculture and fishing in the region.
  • Undermine the very significant potential for tourism in the area.  
  • Leave the people of Bulgaria with a legacy of radioactive waste -for which no solution exists - that will last for tens of thousands ofyears.

The Real Energy Solution for Bulgaria:

Bulgaria has one of the best wind resources on Central Europe. TheEuropean Bank for Reconstruction and Development concluded that thepracticable renewable potential by 2012 from wind, biomass and hydroamounts to around 8GW, which represents about two thirds of Bulgaria'scurrent installed electricity capacity.

Bulgaria wastes more energy than any other European country. It needsnine times more energy to produce a unit of economic output than any ofthe 15 Western European countries. Bringing this in line with theEuropean average by improving the efficiency of the energyinfrastructure, such as properly insulating buildings and efficientelectrical appliances, would be a cheaper, faster and safer way toensure a secure energy supply for Bulgaria than building a nuclearpower station

Small scale but numerous renewable energy developments from a varietyof different sources would provide a flexible, indigenous, diverse andtherefore secure energy supply

Renewable energy creates jobs. A recent assessment by the EU into thepotential for job creation from renewables in Bulgaria estimated thatanywhere from 116,000 to 240,000 jobs could be created.

The dark side

Bulgaria is on the brink of becoming a full member of the EuropeanUnion. As such, it needs to act as a responsible European stateby stopping acts ofintimidation and harassment against supporters of renewable energy thatengage in peaceful protest against the threat of nuclear power.

Albena Simeonova is a well-known environmental campaigner in Bulgaria.She founded the Bulgarian Green Party, has won various internationalprizes for her contribution to environmental protection and campaignedagainst the prospect of Belene nuclear power station since the late1980's.

Her opposition to Belene has always set her against powerful interestsin Bulgaria, but pressure from her opponents has recently turned in tocompletely unacceptable intimidation, threats of violence, harassmentof her workers and even an attempt on her life.

Read more about the recent events surrounding Albena Simeonova.

Those responsible for carrying out this sustained campaign ofintimidation must be brought to account by the Bulgarian authorities.

We need your help in putting pressure on the Bulgarian Government tomake sure this happens.