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Bulgaria to reactivate closed nuclear reactor amid gas supply crisis: president
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08:52, January 07, 2009

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Bulgaria has to start immediate preparations to reactivate the Unit 3 reactor of the Kozloduy nuclear plant following the abrupt stoppage in Russian gas supplies, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov said Tuesday.

All natural gas supplies for Bulgaria and adjacent Balkan countries were cut off at the Ukraine-Romania border at 3:30 a.m. local time (0130 GMT) Tuesday.

Parvanov said the Unit 3 reactor, which was switched off together with Unit 4 on Dec. 31, 2006 under an agreement with the European Union (EU), could be restarted under Article 36 of Bulgaria's EU Accession Treaty, which stipulates that the closed reactors could be relaunched temporarily in the event of a crisis situation in energy resources.

"In such a crisis situation, and there can be no greater crisis than this one, we are entitled to restart the two reactors," Parvanov said after a meeting with Prime Minister Sergei Stanishevand Economy Minister Peter Dimitrov on measures to tackle the situation.

He said the reactor could be restarted within one month.

It seems Bulgaria would be one of the most affected states in the gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and an action plan for a state of emergency would be worked out in reference to suspended gas deliveries from Ukraine, the president said.

The supply from Russia, which covers about 90 percent of Bulgaria's natural gas needs, has been reduced since Jan.3 amid the Russia-Ukraine gas row.

Russian gas giant Gazprom halted the supply of natural gas to Ukraine on Jan. 1 after the two sides failed to reach a deal on a contractual dispute.

Six European countries including EU member states such as Bulgaria, Greece and Romania reported a complete shut-off of Russian gas transmitted via Ukraine on Tuesday, signaling a dramatic escalation of the row.


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