In a response to a letter from a friend of mine, who lives in Washington, DC, Anelia Atanassova to the European Commissioner Oettinger, the European Commission responds as follows:
Ref. Ares(2011)457900 – 27/04/2011
DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR ENERGY
DIRECTORATE D – Nuclear Energy
Luxembourg – 27-04-2011
ENER Dl/AW/ams ARES(2011)
Mrs. Anelia Atanassova
Subject: Nuclear plant Belene
The choice to use nuclear power or not in the national energy mix is a sovereign decision of every Member State. On 7 December 2007, the Commission gave its favourable opinion on the establishment of a new nuclear power plant at Belene based on Article 43 of the Euratom Treaty. The Commission, in its opinion, took into account the information from the investor that the chosen design at Belene includes various passive safety systems as well as improved protection against external hazards, such as earthquakes and air crashes.
In addition, every project to construct a new nuclear power plant has to undergo an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) following, in particular, the procedures established under Directive 85/337/EEC (EIA Directive), as amended*. The competent national authorities are responsible for carrying out the EIA.
To draw lessons from the earthquake and tsunami impact on nuclear installations in Japan a first High Level Conference (15 March 2011) expressed the broad support to the principle of a European approach for a comprehensive safety and risk assessment of nuclear installations. This was furthermore endorsed by the extraordinary Energy Council of 21 March 2011.
On 25 March 2011, the European Council stressed the need to fully draw the lessons from these events, and to provide all necessary information to the public. To this end, the safety of all EU nuclear plants should be reviewed, on the basis of a comprehensive and transparent risk and safety assessment (“stress tests”).
The Commission has no information that the EU’s environmental or energy goals are violated.
* OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p. 40; OJ L 73, 14.3.1997, p.5; OJ L 156,25.6.2003, p.l7; OJ L 140, 05.06.09, p.114
This letter should put an end to the speculation if the European Commission could interfere in the decision of Bulgaria to build or not build a new nuclear station. The decision is entirely Bulgarian, and there’s no excuse from the usual type “Europe wants|doesn’t want something”.
(explanation in Bulgarian | Съкратен превод на български на писмото:
ЕК е разре??ила строежа на АЕЦ “Белене” на 7-ми декември 2007 г. Понастоящем ЕК не разполага с информация, от която да се вижда, че строежът на АЕЦ “Белене” нару??ава целите на енергийната политика или на политиката за околната среда на ЕС. На печелив??ите – честито!)