SOFIA – Seeking an exemption from European Union limitations on importing Russia gas over the invasion of Ukraine, Bulgaria wants to export nuclear power to Greece, which also relies on Russian energy.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said his country is looking at potential suppliers and carrying out a feasibility study to make a specific proposal “within 12 months” to supply Greece with energy from a nuclear power plant that will be built.
Bulgaria has the Russian-designed Kozloduy nuclear plant and Petkov said earlier that new nodules would be put there instead of going ahead with the long-delayed Belene plant that has been shelved.
He told Kathimerini that the aim is “to strengthen the energy interconnection of our countries, through the IGB pipeline, as well as in Liquefied Natural Gas reserves in Alexandroupoli,” in northern Greece.
“These are two options we are interested in moving on as fast as possible, so that we have alternatives,” he said, noting that due to developments in Ukraine, “we need greater diversification of energy sources.”
Petkov also condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “unreasonable actions” and lamented thousands being killed “on the altar of the imperial desires of an authoritarian leader.”
Bulgaria, he said, has close ties to the people and the culture of Russia, “but we separate this from the current authoritarian regime in Russia,” and said e would not go along with Putin’s call for NATO to pull out of Bulgaria and Romania too.
“I do not like the idea of anyone telling us what we should and should not do. We are an independent state and we make our own choices,” he said, but Bulgaria relies on Russia for gas and wants to keep buying all of it although the EU wants to reduce supplies 66 percent this year.
“Many European countries are taking tough measures against Russia, and even countries like Germany or Austria cannot completely rule out Russian gas, on which they are highly dependent. We are more than 80 percent dependent on Russian energy. In essence, we would be shutting down our economy,” he also said.