Bulgaria Starts Plan to Extend Life of Kozloduy Nuclear Reactors

Business » ENERGY | March 8, 2011, Tuesday // 18:17| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Bulgaria Starts Plan to Extend Life of Kozloduy Nuclear Reactors Photo by bulgarica.com

Bulgaria's government has initiated a formal plan to extend the life of the only two operational nuclear reactors in the country located in the Kozloduy NPP.

"There is a plan for extending the life of Unit 5 and Unit 6 in Kozloduy," announced MP Martin Dimitrov from the rightist opposition Blue Coalition, who is the chair of the Parliamentary Committee on energy.

Dimitrov revealed on Tuesday that the plan for the Kozloduy NPP was handed to him by Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism Traicho Traikov.

"The plan was given to me by Economy Minister Traikov with a request that it not be made public so I cannot present details but there is a specific plan, and extending the life of the two reactors must be a national goal for all Bulgarian political parties. These reactors must work at least until 2030. I have consulted the best experts in Bulgaria and there is no reason these reactors should not be in operation at least until 2030," Dimitrov said.

The news about the Kozloduy life extension plan arrive after over the weekend US company Westinghouse showed renewed interested in investments in Bulgaria's only operational nuclear power plant Kozloduy, according to Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism Traicho Traikov.

While on a state visit in Spain over the weekend, Traikov met with Jose Gutierrez, CEO and Vice President for Southern Europe of the US energy giant Westinghouse. Traikov was in Madrid as part of a delegation led by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

Westinghouse has declared interest in participating in the modernization of the Bulgarian Kozloduy NPP in order to extend the life of its two operational reactors – Unit 5 and Unit 6, the press service of the Economy Ministry said.

Only the two VVER-type 1000-MW reactors at Kozloduy are in operation after Bulgaria agreed to shut down the "small" 440-MW reactors 1-4 in 2002 and 2006 as part of its EU accession negotiations.

The Bulgarian government continues to be haggling with the Russian company Atomstroyexport over the price for the construction of two 1000-MW reactors in the future second plant in Belene, and to be struggling to find strategic foreign investors. Traikov himself has indicated several times that Bulgaria could decide to build one or two more reactors in Kozloduy regardless of the fate of the questionable Belene project.

In the fall of 2010, Bulgaria's Economy Minister explained that the license of Unit 5 of the Kozloduy plant expires in 2017, and of Unit 6 - in 2019, but that the government will take measures to extend their life.

In November 2010, the newly-appointed CEO of the Kozloduy NPP Kostadin Dimitrov forecast that the life of the two reactors will be extended by 20 years. Thus, Bulgaria's potential arrangements

After on Monday, Economy Minister Traikov made public an idea to resolve the situation with the Belene NPP by using the equipment for it ordered with Rosatom to build a seventh reactor at Kozloduy instead, MP Martin Dimitrov commended the idea. Traikov indicated that "another solution" will then be found for Belene, which could mean paving the way for a non-Russian investor such as China or the USA.

Dimitrov's rightist Blue Coalition has been vigorously opposed to the construction of the Belene NPP for economic and geopolitical reasons.

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Tags: nuclear reactor, Atomstroyexport, Rosatom, Traicho Traikov, Kozloduy NPP, NPP, Nuclear Power Plant, Belene NPP, Martin Dimitrov, Unit 5, Unit 6
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