The Independent Assessment of Nuclear Developments in the World

Home > News > Essential News > Uncertain Future for Nuclear New-build in Bulgaria

Uncertain Future for Nuclear New-build in Bulgaria

Sunday 3 February 2013

The future of the Belene nuclear power plant in Bulgaria remains unclear following a national referendum on the 27 January 2013. The power plant has had a long history of starts and stops since construction first begun in 1987. The most recent halt was in March 2012, when the Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, stated: “We just can’t afford to pay the total cost of the project, which will reach some 10 billion euros. And there is no way we can make future generations pay”. After 25 years in the statistics, the project was also withdrawn from the list of units "under construction" in the database of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

However, the opposition Socialist party called for the referendum in an attempt to force the restart of construction and as part of the political campaign in preparation for national elections in July 2013. The polls recorded that around 60% of those who voted were in favor of the restart, with 40% against. While the voting turnout was just above the 20% threshold leading to a Parliamentary debate, it remained well below the 60% required to make the vote binding.

Following the vote either side claimed victory. The Prime Minister has said that he will reject the project once again. Reuters quoted Kiril Avramov, a political analyst with New Bulgarian University, as saying: “The low turnout however indicates there are no clear winners and we will be facing a serious stalemate after the July election."

What They Say…

“The Report sets forth in painstaking detail the actual experience and achievements of nuclear energy around the world.”

Peter A. Bradford

Former commissioner
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
(in his foreword to the 2013 report)
“A vital public service... Uniquely independent, thorough, and timely assessment."

Amory B. Lovins

Chairman, Rocky Mountain Institute
“This annual publication has over 20 years evolved into the most reliable, strikingly original, comprehensive and penetrating assessment of the global nuclear industry.”

Praful Bidwai

Financial Chronicle
Delhi, India
"Amid the hype and PR, the smoke and mirrors, of the 'nuclear renaissance', the Status Report offers a hard-edged reality check."

Walt Patterson

Associate Fellow Chatham House
London, UK
“Fantastic piece of work. Must reading for any observer of nuclear energy."

Henri Sokolski

Executive Director Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
Washington DC, USA
“Reliable research based on cold, hard facts, unlike the hype and amnesia of industry sources.”

Scott Ludlam

“Félicitations pour la dernière édition du WNISR. Formidable comme d'habitude!”

Fulcieri Maltini

International Consultant Former Director of the Nuclear Safety Account, EBRD
“Thought-provoking as usual.”

Will Dalrymple

Editor Nuclear Engineering International
"The authoritative report on the status of nuclear power plants worldwide is the World Nuclear Industry Status Report."


Bangkok, Thailand
“Such an illuminating report.”

Sam Geall

Deputy Editor China Dialogue
London, UK
"An astounding collection of facts and figures, a myth-busting international overview… An eye-opening piece of work!"

R. Andreas Krämer

Chairman Ecologic Institute
Berlin, Germany
“I really appreciate you letting us excerpt your report! It’s incredibly well researched and comprehensive, so thank you!”

Stuart Luman

Associate Editor Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists