Bulgaria, TPP Brikel’s SO2 emissions 15 times above safety limit

, SEE Energy News

Bulgarian outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said, after the unannounced visit to thermal power plant Brikel in Galabovo, that the emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter of the plant are 15 and 27 times above the safety limit.

PM Petkov said that he is shocked with these results and expects all competent institutions to come up with a report as soon as possible to help plan the next steps against the daily pollution at TPP Brikel. He already submitted a request with the State Agency for National Security to investigate whether businessman Hristo Kovachki is the owner of TPP Brikel.

The operation of TPP Brikel was suspended in September 2019 due to illegal use of biomass as fuel for the plant’s boilers instead of coal, which is a breach of its operational license. The suspension was lifted after two weeks, since TPP Brikel removed the biomass fuel from its boilers.

Coal-fired TPP Brikel is located in the Maritsa East basin, it has 6 boilers with power output of 60 MW each and four turbines with power output of 50 MW each.

In late April, the Bulgarian Environment Ministry announced that TPP Maritsa 3 located in Dimitrovgrad in southern Bulgaria was forced to stop operation due to increased air pollution. The local environmental inspectorate issued an order for coercive administrative measures instructing the power plant to immediately seize operation.

The order follows a number of violations of the Environmental Protection Act and breaches of the power plant’s integrated permit in the past months. Maritsa 3 has already been fined for those. However, two months later, the Supreme Administrative Court allowed the power plant to resume operations, arguing that the facility is incurring substantial losses by being shut down and that the rights of more than 200 workers, who are forced into unscheduled leave without pay and risk unemployment, need to be safeguarded.