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International Atomic Energy Agency Backs Belene Nuke Building

International Atomic Energy Agency Backs Belene Nuke BuildingThe Bulgarian government has the full support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the construction of the country's second nuclear plant of Belene. This was told Friday by the IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei at a meeting with Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Solomon Passy in the agency's headquarters in Vienna. The relations between Bulgaria and IAEA are excellent, Minister Passy pointed out and expressed his gratitude to the international atomic watchdog for giving its financial and technical support to Bulgaria. The Belene nuclear plant is expected to be back on the construction timeline in three months after a dozen years being stalled because of protests of environmental organisations. Bulgaria is a major electricity exporter to the Balkans. It generates over six billion kWh of electricity per year but will have to close down two 440-megawatt reactors at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant in 2006. The closure was agreed upon as part of Bulgaria's accession negotiations with the EU, which it hopes to join in January 2007. The construction and equipment of the Belene plant, which is expected to take over energy production and supplies from the decommissioned units of Kozloduy, has attracted the interest of investors from Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic and Canada. The IAEA has, as part of its mission, to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

7 March 2005 - Sofia News Agency

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