EU financial aid to help Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia to complete the decommissioning of the Kozloduy, Ignalina and Bohunice nuclear power plants in the next EU budget period (2014-2020) was approved by MEPs on Tuesday. These power plants are 'too dated and could not be cost-effectively upgraded to meet the minimum required safety standards' says rapporteur Giles Chichester (ECR, UK).
The new regulation will extend EU financial support given to Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia in order to complete the decommissioning of their nuclear power plants (Kozloduy units 1 to 4, Ignalina units 1 and 2 and Bohunice V1 units 1 and 2). The term 'decommissioning' covers all the activities taking place after reactors are shut down: removal and the final disposal of spent fuel elements, decontamination, dismantling and/or demolition of the nuclear installations, disposal of remaining radioactive waste materials, and environmental restoration of contaminated sites.
Budget and conditions
To qualify for the €860 million* total aid available (€260 million for Kozloduy, €400 million for Ignalina, and €200 million for Bohunice), the three countries will need to meet certain conditions, including fully transposing the Nuclear Safety Directive into their national laws and submitting detailed decommissioning plans to the European Commission. MEPs suggest that these plans should include information on the anticipated projects, specific milestones and 'co-financing proportions including details on how this national funding will be secured in the long term'.
'It should be ensured by the Commission that the conditions for an effective, efficient and economical use of EU funds is in place. Objectives must be aligned with the budget made available and to the establishment of meaningful performance indicators, which can subsequently be monitored and reported on as necessary for the programme implementation as a whole', stresses Parliament's rapporteur Giles Chichester.
MEPs propose that the Commission should review the performance of the three decommissioning programmes and assess their progress by the end of 2017. If the Commission decides to review the total budget for the decommissioning programmes, it should not jeopardise safety standards at the nuclear power plants, say MEPs.
The resolution was approved by 554 votes to 17, with 72 abstentions.
* The agreed budget is 860 million (in 2011 figures), which will be adjusted to inflation during the programme. The most recent adjustments put the figure at €969 million (€293 million for Kozloduy, €451 million for Ignalina and €225 million for Bohunice).