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MACEDONIA URGED TO RETHINK IT'S NUCLEAR PLANS



National.

The Democratic Renewal of Macedonia, DOM, a minor party in the ruling coalition, says it is filing a resolution to parliament this week aimed at halting plans to build a new nuclear plant.

Macedonia’s current energy strategy envisages investing in nuclear power to overcome electricity shortages.

“We will ask for a revision of the national energy strategy and want to see a permanent moratorium on all nuclear energy plans,” the party spokesperson, Toni Ristov, told Balkan Insight.

Roughly one-third of Macedonia’s electricity comes from imports. Experts say the country needs new capacities if it does not want to become entirely dependent on outside power.

Ristov also announced the formation of a Balkan-wide "green" coalition with the same goal, amid reports of new initiatives to build nuclear plants in neighbouring Bulgaria, Albania, Turkey and elsewhere.

Macedonia’s main ruling party, VMRO DPMNE, and the main opposition Social Democrats, say they need more time to decide whether to support the resolution.

“The government has not reached any decision on possible investment in nuclear energy, although this remains an option in the national strategy,” government spokesperson Martin Martinovski told Balkan Insight.

Macedonian authorities last year mulled plans to invest in Bulgaria's nuclear power plant at Belene in order to solve its power shortage. Some local experts, on the other hand, urge Macedonia to build its own nuclear power plant in the southern Mariovo region.

Meanwhile, energy experts fear a severe shock for the country’s electricity-dependent industry and households after electricity prices on world markets skyrocketed following Japan’s nuclear threat.

Before the Japanese disaster, a MWh of electricity on the world market sold for an average of 50 euros. The average price is now 63 euros.

The catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that have crippled Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have prompted many countries to rethink their nuclear energy plans.

The EU has ordered tests to check the safety of all reactors. Germany said last week that it will temporarily shut all seven of its nuclear reactors built before 1980. India also announced increased safety measures.

Nuclear power provides about a third of the electricity used by the EU's 27 nations. Only two nuclear power plants operate in the Balkans, at Cernavoda in Romania and at Krsko in Slovenia.


[BInsight]

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February 27 2010:
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