Bulgaria’s Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is an immediate threat to the local environment and population after its Chernobyl-style No. 5 reactor expired on 7 November 2017 (operational for a maximum of 30 years). It is currently operating illegally without complying with current European conventions (Espoo and Aarhus). The European Green Party calls on Bulgarian authorities to secure the safety of the Kozloduy NPP by accepting requests for a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.
The Romanian Green Party states that Bulgaria decided to proceed with the lifetime extension of reactors No. 5 and No. 6 without any public information and debates and ignoring a request from Romanian authorities for a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report. A team of 2 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) staff members, 5 external experts and 4 observers conducted an expert review of the Kozloduy NPP and identified 11 issues in fundamental areas. None of these issues have been addressed.
Bulgaria’s notification for the extension of reactor No. 5 states there is no risk to the Romania/Bulgaria border, although it did not support its claims. The most recent seismic data risk assessment points to a ‘likely’ severe incident. Extreme earthquakes have periodically struck the Kozloduy region: 1908 (magnitude 7.1), 1940 (magnitude 7.7), 1977 (magnitude 7.4), 1986 (magnitude 7.1), 30 and 31 May,1990 (magnitude 6.9 and 6.4).
Bulgaria’s decision not to proceed with a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, in a transboundary perspective, is a flagrant violation of the Espoo convention.
Immediate international support and pressure on the Bulgarian and Romanian authorities to fully respect the European Espoo and Aarhus conventions is needed based on these concerns, in terms of the risk posed to local populations by the Kozloduy NPP. The move receives full backing from the Romanian Green Party, the Bulgarian Green Party, the “Danube Region Nuclear Free” coalition in Vienna, as well as other major NGOs in Romania and Bulgaria.
The European Green Party Committee calls on Bulgarian authorities to secure the safety of the Kozloduy NPP by accepting requests for a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.
“I am very pleased to welcome Bulgaria in this bold European initiative. High-performance computing is pervasive in our daily lives: from personalised medicine to weather forecast, cybersecurity and to cars and planes simulation and design. Access to HPC resources is essential for public and private users. As no Member State has the capacity to develop such computing power quickly and on their own, strong cooperation and support at European level is a must.” Said Commissioner Gabriel in charge of Digital economy and society.
Bulgaria became today the tenth Member State to sign the EuroHPC declaration on high-performance computing (HPC). The initiative aims at joining efforts to make world-class HPC infrastructure available across the EU. Bulgarian Minister for Education and Science, Krasimir Valchev signed the declaration this morning in Sofia, Bulgaria. The EuroHPC declaration was originally launched and signed in Rome in March 2017 during the Digital Day by France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Belgium signed the declaration in June 2017 and Slovenia in July 2017. Other Member States are expected to join soon, as the top HPC infrastructure has the potential to significantly upraise industry competitiveness and EU’s innovation capacity. Switzerland has also promised to join the European common effort to deploy world-class high-performance computing infrastructure capable of at least 1018 calculations per second (so-called exascale computers).
The Council of Europe’s Group of States against corruption (GRECO) has published today its Fourth Round Evaluation Report on Bulgaria dealing with corruption prevention in respect of members of Parliament, judges and prosecutors.
GRECO concludes that Bulgaria has, overall, a reasonably good legislative framework and that many institutions and tools are in place to deter corruption. Yet the complex regulations and the abundance of reporting instruments and oversight bodies have failed to bring in the desired cumulative effect or help attain qualitative changes in corruption prevention efforts. Scrutiny, if it is effected at all, is cursory and in the absence of any discernible results in detecting and punishing violations of the conflicts of interest and asset disclosure rules, transparency is perceived as ostensible. This has not been conducive towards boosting public confidence in the three institutions, judges being most vulnerable to public mistrust.
In GRECO’s opinion, independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the systems of disclosure and verification of assets, ascertainment of conflicts of interest and of their impact on the prevention and detection of corruption amongst MPs, judges and prosecutors, as well as undertaking appropriate corrective action are of primordial importance.
GRECO also recommends that the private interests of MPs, judges and prosecutors be made subject to substantive and regular checks. With regard to MPs, the transparency and inclusivity of the law-making process must be increased and adequate timelines introduced for considering bills within the Assembly, so as to secure meaningful and effective engagement by all interested parties. As for the judicial system, its vulnerability to undue political interference remains significant. Also, since the effectiveness of enforcement of integrity standards within the judiciary has been called into question, its strengths and weaknesses and its impact on corruption prevention need to be analysed. Furthermore, implementation of the principle of random case allocation in the courts and prosecution offices has to be realised in practice and made subject to more stringent controls.