Belene ( bg|Белене ) is a town
in Pleven Province
, Northern Bulgaria
. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Belene Municipality
. The town is situated on the right bank of the Danube river
, close to the town of Svishtov
. As of December 2009, it has a population of 8,905 inhabitants.
[Bulgarian National Statistical Institute - towns in 2009]
Belene was proclaimed a town in 1964,
[Bulgarian National Statistical Institute - Belene in 1964]
/ref> which is celebrated every year in the first week of September with a market and cultural events.
The place is best known for the Belene prison (formerly a concentration camp) on Belene Island where thousands of innocent Bulgarians found their deaths during the communist dictatorship, and as the proposed site of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant, which has been under construction east of the town. Although about 40% of construction worked and 80% of equipment deliveries for the first unit had been completed in 1991, construction was suspended owing to a lack of financial resources. In 2002, the Government decided to resume the Belene NPP Project and in 2005, the Council of Ministers issued a decision for construction of two 1000 MW units. However, the Council of Ministers decision about the Belene NPP Project was subsequently suspended in 2012. In 2018, the Minister of Energy was assigned to again explore possibilities for construction of the Belene NPP until it was interrupted in 1990 due to the severe economic crisis that followed the fall of communism in the country. There are plans to start construction again as a replacement for reactors 3 and 4 at Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, which Bulgaria shut down as a condition for EU membership. The total capacity of the two reactors will be 2,000 MW.
The main confessions in the town are Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, with two Roman Catholic and one Orthodox church being present. The Catholic Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1860, the Eastern Orthodox Church of St George in 1874 and the Catholic Church of Saint Anthony of Padua was constructed in 1893.
Belene was the focal point for the feature documentary film ''The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories'' by Andrey Paounov
The film features many of the town's colourful characters, highlighting their daily plight of a nuclear plant of empty promises and a year-round mosquito epidemic.
Belene Cove in Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Belene.
Twin towns — sister cities
Belene is twinned with:
* Belleville-sur-Loire, France
* Devrek, Turkey
* Hajdúsámson, Hungary
* Lázně Bělohrad, Czech Republic
* Obninsk, Russia
* Popești-Leordeni, Romania
* Vigonza, Italy
Category:Populated places in Pleven Province
Category:Populated places on the Danube