In 2003 NEK of Bulgaria opened a procedure for EIA of Belene NPP. The procedure was associated with manipulations and violations, reported by the NGOs' coalition ‘Stop BeleNE! NPP’ and by Greenpeace. The EIA report lacked significant information regarding the safety systems and their performance as well as on other systems of various reactors that have an impact on safety. The seismic risk is heavily underestimated, and alternative options are not seriously investigated. There is no assessment of various risks, including the probability for accidents caused by earthquakes. The issue of radioactive waste and spent fuel management is not analysed. Public participation was also violated by threats and a blockade to people who wanted to ask questions, personal influence from the Minister of Energy and Energy Resources, etc. Altogether during the EIA process and following court cases the EIA Directive (85/337/EEC(1)), and the Aarhus and Espoo Conventions were violated. The judge, who signed a verdict, was forced to change his opinion and later employed in a department that does not deal with environmental cases. The experts who prepared the EIA report openly admitted that the type of reactor selected would require a new EIA procedure. However in May 2007 the Minister of Environment and Water denied in writing that such a new procedure was to be carried out. Therefore Belene NPP may become the first ever nuclear project to be supported by the EU without a proper EIA. In November 2007 the NGOs' coalition submitted to the Commission a letter requesting an infringement procedure against Bulgaria regarding violations of the EIA procedure.
Taking into account that the main objective of Euratom is ‘to create the conditions of safety necessary to eliminate endangering the life and health of the public’:
Did the Commission take any position regarding the problems with Belene NPP EIA after seven months of investigating the problem?
Will the Commission take any steps to open an infringement procedure against Bulgaria for violation of the EIA Directive?
Will the Commission therefore ask for a proper EIA procedure to be carried out by the Bulgarian authorities regardless of whether or not Bulgaria is likely to request loans from Euratom and/or EIB?