Bulgaria has abandoned plans for a nuclear power plant in Belene, originally intended to be the second in the country, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said Wednesday.
Bulgaria's deputy finance minister, Vladislav Goranov, announced a natural gas power plant will be built at the site instead.
The project was unable to gain support from foreign investors after German energy company RWE pulled out in 2009. Bulgaria was under contract with Atomstroyexport, a Russian firm, to build the 2,000 megawatt plant.
One of the two reactors destined for the site has already been constructed in Russia, and will be sent to the existing Kozloduy nuclear power station, increasing its capacity to 3,000 megawatts.
It was a hard decision to take, but we just can't afford to pay the total cost of the project, which will reach some 10 billion euros. And there is no way we can make future generations pay, Boiko explained.
I sincerely hope that (Russian Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin will explain to the Duma that we part company on this project as friends and will continue to work together on the Kozloduy nuclear power plant, he added.
Boiko cited the unwillingness of investors to commit to a nuclear power plant in an earthquake prone region, something discouraged by the European Union, Reuters reports.
Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister, Deylan Dobrev, will go to Moscow on Thursday to talk with Russian officials, and to discourage Atomstroyexport from going to court over the issue.
The current center-right government has continually promised to review Bulgaria's energy relations with Russia in order to lessen their intense dependence on Russian energy, a source of political influence for Russia.
Russia's Gazprom supplies the Balkan nation with more than 95 percent of its natural gas, and the country's only oil refinery is owned by LUKOIL, another Russian firm, according to Reuters.
Bulgaria is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970, and does not posses nuclear weapons. The country began using commercial nuclear power for energy in 1974.
Belene is situated along the Danube River near the country's northern border with Romania.