The Prospects for Nuclear Energy in Bulgaria: The Rush towards the Construction of Belene Nuclear Power Plant

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In Bulgaria the utilisation of nuclear energy for electricity generation is widely supported by the majority of Bulgarians and most political parties. This article follows the development of nuclear energy generation and policy in Bulgaria and points to some of the many unanswered questions regarding the real need for capacity on such a scale for the country and for the region. However, the political decision for the construction of a second new power plant has been taken, plans are well-advanced. If enough financial resources are ensured and there is support from international financing institutions (including the Russian Gazprombank), there will be a renaissance of nuclear energy in Bulgaria even at the price of a significant negative economic impact and an increase of energy dependence of the country.

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... 9 The project was shelved in 1992 due to lack of funding, local and national opposition, as well as "a negative evaluation of its social, technical and economic characteristics and concerns regarding seismic safety of the site prepared by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences." (Miladinova, 2006: 406) The project was reopened in 2002 for reevaluation and a decision to build two units was announced in April 2005, with the support of the major political parties and the general population (based on the expected economic and technological benefits) (Miladinova, 2006). A prominent critic of the project has argued that Bulgaria possesses excess power production capabilities, and much of the power produced will be exported to the Balkans and This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Wiley in Environmental Policy & Governance on 14 August 2013, available online: ...
... (2006) closed down, due in part to serious deficiencies(Miladinova 2006). For a discussion of attitudes towards the Kozloduy plant see:Konstantinov, 1995. ...
Ecological modernization has established an important position in the field of environmental politics. The adoption of technocratic solutions to environmental challenges is attractive to policymakers. Ecological modernization enables such an approach, in combination with mechanisms for participation and reflexive policy development. However, there are questions regarding the applicability of the concept to political contexts differing from those in the Northern European states in which it first emerged. This paper examines the challenges associated with adopting ecological modernization in the context of democratization and draws on analysis of the development of environmental politics in Bulgaria to illustrate the difficulties identified. The findings suggest that the adoption of ecological modernization during a period of democratization may lead to the hardening of closed technocratic policy-making, limiting wider participation and preventing the development of stronger and more reflexive forms of ecological modernization. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
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