The EBRD has signed grant agreements for a total of €73.8 million with three Bulgarian energy companies. The grants will fund projects aimed at improving energy infrastructure and service quality, as well as programmes relating to the decommissioning of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant.
Of the grants, €38 million will be used by the National Electric Company (NEK) to construct two new 400 kV power transmission lines which will be completed in three years.
As an extension of the ongoing heating system rehabilitation, the Sofia District Heating Company will use €1.8 million of the grant financing to replace 136 subunits in public buildings such as schools, kindergartens and social homes, as well as adding 25 kilometres of isolated piping. These projects, expected to be completed by 2012, will save 2,500 MWh of energy a year.
The Kozloduy NPP State Agency for Radioactive Waste will receive €34 million for decommissioning-related programmes for more than 715 workers implementing these tasks.
The grants, which were signed in the presence of the Bulgarian Minister of the Economy, Energy and Tourism, Traicho Traikov, were extended under the EBRD-managed Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDSF) that was set up as compensation for the closure of Kozloduy’s four nuclear plant units.
"The joint success in implementing these programmes will help achieve the important goal of securing additional funding in the EU budget beyond 2013," said Vince Novak, director of EBRD’s nuclear safety department which manages the Kozloduy decommissioning fund.
Since the establishment of KIDSF in 2001, the Fund has provided Bulgaria with more than €575 million for projects that help to mitigate the effects of the closure.
The donor community to date has provided €850 million to the Fund. Donors are the European Commission, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.