• 25 mins OPEC Set To Move Fast On Cut Extension Decision
  • 3 hours Nigeria Makes First Step Away From Oil
  • 14 hours Russia Approves Profit-Based Oil Tax For 2019
  • 18 hours French Strike Disrupts Exxon And Total’s Oil Product Shipments
  • 20 hours Kurdistan’s Oil Exports Still Below Pre-Conflict Levels
  • 22 hours Oil Production Cuts Taking A Toll On Russia’s Economy
  • 1 day Aramco In Talks With Chinese Petrochemical Producers
  • 1 day Federal Judge Grants Go-Ahead On Keystone XL Lawsuit
  • 1 day Maduro Names Chavez’ Cousin As Citgo Boss
  • 1 day Bidding Action Heats Up In UK’s Continental Shelf
  • 2 days Keystone Pipeline Restart Still Unknown
  • 2 days UK Offers North Sea Oil Producers Tax Relief To Boost Investment
  • 2 days Iraq Wants To Build Gas Pipeline To Kuwait In Blow To Shell
  • 2 days Trader Trafigura Raises Share Of Oil Purchases From State Firms
  • 2 days German Energy Group Uniper Rejects $9B Finnish Takeover Bid
  • 2 days Total Could Lose Big If It Pulls Out Of South Pars Deal
  • 2 days Dakota Watchdog Warns It Could Revoke Keystone XL Approval
  • 3 days Oil Prices Rise After API Reports Major Crude Draw
  • 3 days Citgo President And 5 VPs Arrested On Embezzlement Charges
  • 3 days Gazprom Speaks Out Against OPEC Production Cut Extension
  • 3 days Statoil Looks To Lighter Oil To Boost Profitability
  • 3 days Oil Billionaire Becomes Wind Energy’s Top Influencer
  • 3 days Transneft Warns Urals Oil Quality Reaching Critical Levels
  • 3 days Whitefish Energy Suspends Work In Puerto Rico
  • 3 days U.S. Authorities Arrest Two On Major Energy Corruption Scheme
  • 4 days Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High
  • 4 days Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 4 days South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 4 days Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 4 days Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 4 days Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 4 days ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 7 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 7 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 7 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 7 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 7 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 7 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 7 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 7 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
Alt Text

This OPEC Strategy Could Boost Uranium Prices Next Year

Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium…

Alt Text

Rising Costs Slow The Growth Of Nuclear Power

High costs and public fears…

Alt Text

Russia’s Nuclear Sector Is Surging

With a long-standing nuclear tradition,…

Tepid Voter Turnout Sets Back Bulgarian Nuclear Power Plans

Tepid Voter Turnout Sets Back Bulgarian Nuclear Power Plans

Whatever one can say about nuclear power, the 11 March 2011 debacle at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s six reactor Fukushima Daiichi, complex, has refocused public attention on the potential perils of nuclear power generation.

In Britain, the Cumbria County Council, whose region includes the picturesque Lake District, voted against hosting an underground "geological disposal facility" nuclear landfill amid concerns about safety and the threat to tourism.

Japan?

A poll conducted in the winter of 2011 found nearly 80 percent, 4/5ths of those contacted, favoring phasing out the country’s nuclear energy program.

Bulgarians are made of sterner stuff. On 27 January, the Bulgarian citizenry had a chance to cast their opinions on the feasibility of constructing a 2,000 megawatt nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube.

The good news for nuclear proponents?

Roughly 61 percent of those voting cast their ballots in favor of the NPP’s construction.

Related article: Iran to Install Thousands of New Centrifuges for Nuclear Enrichment

The bad news?

Only 21 percent of those eligible to vote in the “yes/no” referendum cast their ballots, far below the 60 percent required for the result to be binding, but above the 20 percent required to trigger official debate and consideration in parliament.

The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party pushed through the non-binding referendum after the conservative government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov scrapped the construction of the Belene NPP last year. The government applied vague wording to the ballot measure, not referring to Belene, but merely "building a new nuclear plant."

The official notice of the referendum reminded participants that the country's energy policy of June 2011, “declared its support for the development of nuclear energy... in search of a reasonable balance between available energy resources in the country and European targets for clean energy,” adding that “decisions on the specific socio-economic, technical and financial parameters of each project are the responsibility of the council of ministers.”

The Belene NPP has had a troubled history. Initially planned in the 1970s under the country’s previous Communist regime, Belen was already partly built until Borisov scrapped the project over cost concerns, as economists projected that the facility could require up to $13.5 in investment, roughly a quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product. Further annoying Bulgarian nationalists, the project was being developed by Russian state-owned company Rosatom, which had lobbied heavily for the project, raising further concerns about expanding Russian influence in the country’s energy sector as Bulgaria currently imports100 percent of its gas from Russia.

Related article: Kazakh Uranium: Eastern Giant Attracts Western Attention

Low voter turnout aside, the referendum raised an interesting question - how many other European Union countries would have voted in favor of nuclear plant construction?

So, apparently for the present, Bulgaria will trundle along with its current energy policies. Last August Bulgaria and Gazprom signed an investment contract to construct the South Stream pipeline, to bypass Ukraine, along with a new gas-supply agreement, which involves an 11 percent price cut for the second half of 2012.  Energy and Economy Minister Delyan Dobrev told reporters that Bulgaria wants to reduce the amount it needs to pay to participate in the pipeline joint venture, estimated at around $642 million.

Bulgaria accordingly remains beholden to Russia, whichever way you look at it, an interesting position for a NATO and European Union member state to be in.

Any alternatives?

Well, for the past several years Chevron and other U.S. companies have been touting hydraulic fracturing’s appeal, but in 2010 protest began, resulting in Parliament in January 2012 banning the practice, despite the fatherly advice of the United States ambassador in Bulgaria. Six months later, after intensive lobbying, the ban was partially lifted, and many Bulgarians believe that eventually it will be withdrawn.

In the meantime, make your checks out to “Gazprom.”

By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • SA Kiteman on February 04 2013 said:
    Perhaps they should coordinate with the Czechs and build a prototype Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR). At that point they should be able to build as many Small Modular LFTRs as they may need. And they should be Leaner, Cleaner, and Greener than ANY other power source. Maybe they could use FLiBe Energy's help.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News