SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s electricity exports will fall to some 5.0 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) this year from last year’s 6.168 billion kWh due to closed nuclear reactors and halted sales to Turkey, the power export monopoly NETC said yesterday. In early January, the European Union candidate country closed down the two oldest 440-megawatt reactors at its Soviet-era Kozloduy nuclear power plant because Brussels had said it wanted them shut for safety reasons. NETC said in a statement that Turkey’s April decision to suspend power purchases from its Balkan neighbor was another reason for the expected drop in Bulgaria’s electricity exports. Turkey halted power imports from Bulgaria, saying Sofia had failed to press ahead with two infrastructure projects with Turkish contractors, which were part of a 10-year bilateral energy deal. Bulgaria used to export 3.5-4.0 billion kWh of power to energy-hungry Turkey a year, more than half of its total annual exports, under the 1998 deal. NETC said it had managed to partly make up for the halted sales to Turkey by launching exports to Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Albania. The company did not provide fresh data on power exports so far this year. It had said it exported 3.2 billion kWh of power from the beginning of this year to end-August. Bulgaria has covered some 90-95 percent of the region’s monthly power deficit with electricity exports over the past two months, the NETC statement said. It added that sales abroad would fall next month because the priority would be meeting increased domestic consumption needs during the winter season.