NEWS

Government turns to Bulgaria’s nuclear power

Government turns to Bulgaria’s nuclear power

Athens is still trying to make sense of the new political and economic landscape created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. One thing is clear, however: The government’s top priority is to absorb the spike in the cost of energy and its effect on inflation.

Throughout Europe, the need to lessen the continent’s dependence on imports of Russian natural gas is acknowledged. Kathimerini understands that Greece has approached Bulgaria for a bilateral deal that would allow Greece to import electricity produced at Bulgarian nuclear plants.

Bulgaria’s current nuclear capacity – Kozloduy reactors 5 and 6, which meet a third of its current energy needs and are by far its cheapest energy source – would allow it to start exporting electricity to Greece next year. In January 2021, Bulgaria decided to build another reactor, Kozloduy 7, which is expected to be ready by 2026 and could provide even more electricity. Romania also plans to build a nuclear reactor.

Last Tuesday, a Bulgarian delegation visited Athens and met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Bilateral cooperation on energy was an important part of the agenda.

Government officials acknowledge the latest developments are leading to a protracted period of comparatively high inflation, with no end in sight. It is certain that growth rates will be negatively affected, not only in Greece but acorss Europe. The government also fears that tourism will be impacted. Before the latest inflation wave, there were hopes that tourism would exceed the 2019, pre-pandemic levels.

The government also wants to help the most vulnerable ride out inflation, but fiscal margins are not favorable after all the aid to individuals and businesses hit by the pandemic. So, the government is once again banking on Europe-wide measures that would affect all and, in fact, relax spending strictures.