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The nuclear crisis in Japan appears to have made some Bulgarians reconsider their views on the country's Belene Nuclear Power Plant project, a recent poll shows.
Bulgarian public opinion on the future of the country's nuclear future is divided, the poll shows, with 51 per cent of the 800 people surveyed supporting the idea of building new atomic reactors, while 45 per cent stand against it.
The survey was conducted by the Alpha Research agency.
As far as the Belene project is concerned, a mere 24 per cent still support the construction of its two reactors, while 44 per cent back building an additional reactor at the country's existing Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant and 32 per cent do not want any new reactors whatsoever.
Nine years ago, over 80 per cent of Bulgaria's citizens were supportive of the Belene project, Alpha Research noted, pointing out that the reasons for the change in opinion include the location of the future power plant in a seismically active region and its increased price, along with the rising popularity of alternative energy sources.
Last Tuesday, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said Belene needed additional technological and geological safety studies and questioned its financing, though the European Commission already approved the plant's construction as early as 2008.
The Bulgarian government and the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom continue to fight over a final price for the construction of the nuclear power plant.
Under the present arrangements, the 2000 MW Belene plant is supposed to be built by Rosatom's subsidiary Atomstroyexport. However, Bulgaria and Russia continue to haggle over the price, with Moscow asking for €6.3 billion and Bulgaria saying it is willing to pay €5 billion.
German investor RWE withdrew from Bulgaria's Belene Nuclear Plant project partly due to safety concerns, leaked US embassy cables show.
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