Anti-nuclear activists in Bulgaria are campaigning hard in an upcoming referendum on nuclear power. Bulgarians go the polls on January 27 to answer the question, “Should Bulgaria develop nuclear energy through the construction of a new nuclear power plant?” As this is Bulgaria’s first ever referendum, there is strong interest. Rebecca Harms, Greens-EFA co-president has visited to show her support, while other MEPs have made a video calling for a no vote. If the referendum is passed, the Bulgarian government intends to build a new nuclear power plant in Belene, near the Romanian border.
Polls suggest a majority of Bulgarians are in favor of nuclear power. According to Georg Tuparev and Borislav Sandov, co-chairs of Zelenite, people have not been given enough information to make an informed decision. “Many years of pro-nuclear brainwashing are dominant factor,” explained Tuparev.
Marina Dragomiretzkaya, leader of Green party Zelena Partiya, says that they want the government to look into possibilities for sustainable energy sources. "There is no clarity on the financial aspects of the building of the nuclear power plant. But why not spend money on proven green strategies: energy efficiency, renewable energy, recycling and the green economy."
Campaigners on the no side of this referendum have faced many challenges; limited time to campaign, a lack of finances, and lack of free and uncensored access to media. Campaigns are expensive, and there are no funds to pay supporters and volunteers. In the last weeks of the campaign, groups plan to work hard to continue spreading the word and pushing for a no-vote, by getting out on the streets, by handing out leaflets during campaign events around the country, and by participating in media debates and conferences.
You can show your support for the no-vote here. By sending a message of support, Europe can stand beside the Greens in Bulgaria and remind them they are not alone in their opposition to nuclear power. We’ll publish these messages of support on our Facebook page too.