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Energy Minister Nikolov: Accident Occured at Chaira Hydro Power Plant

An accident has occurred at the Chaira Pumped Storage Hydro Power Plant (Chaira PSHPP), Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov told an extraordinary briefing of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday evening. The accident took place during a testing of the capacities of Chaira PSHPP, which were supposed to be put into service in a few days after three years of repair.  “An inspection has been underway since Tuesday. Earlier on Wednesday, deputy Energy Minister Danail Nikolov was there. We are continuing the inspection. Data is being collected on what and why has technically happened to the unit. This is a machine that can produce up to 210 megawatts per hour”, Alexander Nikolov explained. 
He added that the capacity was relied on in order to further decrease energy prices in peak hours, but that will not happen. “For all other additional details and all inspections related to suspicions of negligence or willful misconduct, information will be given when data is collected”, Nikolov added. 
Chaira PSHPP is located near the village Sestrimo, Southwestern Bulgaria and is owned by the National Electric Company (NEK EAD).  
No people were injured and no one’s life is in danger, Prime Minister told the extraordinary briefing. 
He said that there is no danger of an electricity price increase, and that he has ordered the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security to fully inspect the case.  “Unfortunately, the contract for repair was signed by [opposition party] GERB in 2017, and not with the unit’s manufacturer Toshiba”, Petkov added.