Belene Nuclear Power Plant Panorama, Bulgaria

The Belene Nuclear Power Plant (Bulgarian: Атомна електроцентрала „Белене“) is a planned nuclear power plant 3 km from Belene and 11 km from Svishtov in Pleven Province, northern Bulgaria, near the Danube River. It was intended to substitute four VVER-440 V230 reactors of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant that were decommissioned as a prerequisite for Bulgaria to join the European Union.

On June 11, 2010, the Bulgarian government announced that it would freeze indefinitely the planned construction of the Belene nuclear power plant because it was uncertain when the investment would be returned. Five months later, on December 2, a non-binding memorandum of understanding was signed between NEK EAD, Rosatom, Altran and Fortum, setting up a 6.3 bln. euro price on the power station, after months of unsuccessful talks on the cost and redeemability of the project itself. Further disagreement and the persistent demands of the Bulgarian government to lower the cost under 5.0 billion euro led to the termination of the project in March 2012. However, in late 2012 the opposition initiated a referendum petition which was supposedly signed by over 600 thousand people and the first national referendum in the history of modern Bulgaria was held on January 27, 2013. A majority of the people had voted ′Yes' but despite that, the number of voters who attended the voting was too low for it to pass. The referendum passed the question further to the Parliament, which decided on 27 February 2013 to suspend it. Later on 30 May 2013 the newly elected Cabinet Prime Minister Oresharski announced there is a possible restart for it.

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