To Wean Off Russian Gas, Greece Eyes Bulgaria’s Nuclear Power

ATHENS – With energy costs soaring and a program to get off coal-fired electricity plants behind schedule, Greece is talking with Bulgaria about building a nuclear plant there to provide Greece with ower for 20 years.

The news came from Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Asen Vassilev, said the site EURACTIV, with that country having two Russian nuclear reactors ordered and delivered but unused for three years.

A new Bulgarian government elected on an anti-corruption platform said it’s ready to build new facility at the existing Kozloduy power plant, the report also said.

Vassilev also said that Bulgaria will become a shareholder in the port of Alexandroupoli and will have access to the Aegean Sea, as it already has a stake in the liquefied gas terminal (LNG) there.

“Bulgaria has plans and preparations to prevent an energy crisis,” Vassilev said, adding that the government had anticipated Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that has seen oil prices jump after gas prices were soaring too.

“The Bulgarian government is preparing extremely actively for this war with alternative energy sources, with a full review of the reserve, and with all other measures that must be taken militarily,” he said.

He said he doesn’t expect any adverse reaction from Russia which is dealing with tightening European Union sanctions over the invasion, although the bloc gets up to 40 percent of its energy from Russian sources.

“In the short term, cutting off gas supplies can do the most harm. That’s what we worked on. Greece has already sold us the extra gas that it does not use. We have an agreement with them to help with electricity, if necessary, ” he said.

In Greece, the newspaper and news site Kathimerini said the country wants to reduce its dependence on Russian gas that President Vladimir Putin has weaponized to bend the EU to his will more frequently.

It said that Greece has approached Bulgaria for a bilateral deal that would allow Greece to import electricity produced at Bulgarian nuclear plants.

Bulgaria’s current nuclear capacity – Kozloduy reactors 5 and 6, which meet a third of its current energy needs and are by far its cheapest energy source – would allow it to start exporting electricity to Greece in 2023, the report said.

In January 2021, Bulgaria decided to build another reactor, Kozloduy 7, which is expected to be ready by 2026 and could provide even more electricity and Romania plans to build a nuclear reactor, but Greece doesn’t for now.





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