Ukraine Eyes Nuclear Reactor Deal with Bulgaria Amid Energy Crisis

Business » ENERGY | March 22, 2024, Friday // 15:25
Bulgaria: Ukraine Eyes Nuclear Reactor Deal with Bulgaria Amid Energy Crisis

Amidst Ukraine's urgent need for additional power sources following the closure of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, negotiations are underway for a groundbreaking deal between Ukraine and Bulgaria. Ukraine aims to secure the purchase of two nuclear reactors from Bulgaria to bolster its energy capacity, with hopes of finalizing the agreement as early as June.

The head of Ukraine's nuclear company, Energoatom, revealed to Reuters the pressing necessity for supplementary power generation in light of the shutdown of the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe's largest nuclear facility housing six reactors.

The proposed deal entails installing the acquired reactors at Ukraine's Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant in the western region, equipped with Russian-designed components sourced from Bulgaria. Petro Kotin, the head of Energoatom, underscored the significance of expediting negotiations, emphasizing the impending energy crisis and the vital role these reactors would play in mitigating it.

While negotiations between the Ukrainian and Bulgarian governments continue, Kotin expressed optimism regarding the likelihood of reaching a consensus by June. He outlined plans for the swift installation of the first reactor, setting a demanding timeline for its completion to address the pressing energy demands.

In addition to the procurement of reactors, Energoatom is also exploring collaborations with General Electric for the construction of essential turbine components, essential for reactor operation. The ambitious endeavor aims to bolster Ukraine's energy independence and resilience in the face of geopolitical challenges.

However, the negotiations have encountered hurdles, with Bulgaria initially seeking to revise the pricing terms for the reactors. Despite the price adjustments proposed by Bulgaria, Ukraine remains steadfast in its pursuit of an equitable agreement, prioritizing affordability amidst escalating energy demands.

The genesis of the proposed deal can be traced back to Bulgaria's earlier acquisition of the reactors for the planned Belene Nuclear Power Plant. In a strategic move, Bulgaria authorized the potential sale of these reactors to Ukraine, recognizing the imperative of bolstering regional energy security and cooperation.

Meanwhile, amidst the ongoing energy crisis exacerbated by the closure of the Zaporizhzhia plant, Ukraine remains resolute in its determination to restore the facility to operational status. Despite logistical and infrastructural challenges, Energoatom retains preparedness to recommission the plant post-"de-occupation," underscoring Ukraine's commitment to energy sovereignty and resilience.

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Tags: Ukraine, Bulgaria, nuclear, energy

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