Bulgaria's Regulatory Body Expects IAEA Approval

Politics | January 23, 2003, Thursday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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We hope the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will approve the work of Bulgaria's Agency for Nuclear Regulation and the direction in which it is heading. Emil Vapirev, head of Bulgaria's Agency for Nuclear Regulation, said that after IAEA representatives arrived in Sofia for their regular supervision of the regulatory body. Vapirev underlined that the visit is not related to the Nuclear Power plant Kozloduy peer review.

In the opinion of Vapirev the regulatory body independence, the adopted legal regulations, sufficient financial and human resources and high staff motivation will secure IAEA positive assessment. IAEA representatives levelled their criticism at certain aspects of the regulatory body during their previous visit two years go.

A mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will make a review of nuclear safety and radiation protection regulations in Bulgaria June 16 through 27. Nuclear Power plant Kozloduy reported 55 incidents in 2002. The danger they pose is set at about zero, the remainder below that level. No incident reached the first degree on the seven-point scale, Vapirev underlined.

The first of the two oldest units at Kozloduy nuclear power station, 200 kilometres north of Sofia, were decoupled from Bulgaria's energy grid on December 31 and December 30. At the moment, Unit 1 of Kozloduy N-plant is in its 23rd nuclear fuel cycle, and Unit 2 in its 24th fuel cycle. A nuclear fuel cycle corresponds approximately to one calendar year. The designed life of the reactors is 30 years.

The closure of the two oldest units comes after many years of concern over their safety, strong pressure from the European Union, protests from the nuclear lobby and opposition parties that the reactors are economically necessary.
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