Bulgarian Parliament Votes to Abandon Belene Nuclear Power Plant
On 27 February 2013 the Bulgarian Parliament voted by 114 to 40 to permanently abandon the Belene nuclear power plant. The vote was prompted by a referendum on 27 January 2013, in which 61% of the public called for new nuclear construction and 39% voted again. However, turnout of just 21% was below the 60% required for the result to be binding, but above the 20% required to trigger official debate and consideration in parliament.
The foundations for the Belene power plant were first laid in 1987, but construction was stopped in 1990. Since 2002 there have been various attempts to restart construction, the latest Parliamentary vote will stop further attempts for at least another two years – a limit set by Bulgarian referendum legislation. However, the most likely outcome is that the project is dead.