Bulgaria’s government decided on October 25 to start work on the construction of two new reactors at Kozloduy nuclear power plant (NPP) that will have a combined capacity of 2,300 MW, Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said.
Since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine, Bulgaria has been making significant efforts to become independent from Russia for its energy. At the end of April last year, the country stopped using Russian gas, but it still imports fresh nuclear fuel from Russia and wants to find an alternative. Sofia is also trying to put an end to oil imports from Russia despite having a derogation from the EU-wide ban until the end of 2024.
Currently, Kozloduy NPP has only two Soviet-era working units – five and six. The energy ministry will now start the procedure to pick a contractor for the design, construction and commissioning of unit seven and will also start the procedure to build unit eight.
Construction of the seventh unit should be completed by 2033, and the project will be funded with BGN500mn (€250mn) in addition to previously allocated funding, Denkov said.
The government will start negotiations on new loans with financial institutions for the construction of the two new units.
Unit eight will be completed at a later stage.
Denkov said the new reactors' total capacity of 2,300 MW will significantly exceed the 1,760 MW capacity of the four blocks that were closed as part of Bulgaria’s accession to the EU.
In June, US Westinghouse Electric signed an agreement with Kozloduy NPP’s special project company, Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild, that kicked off the procedure for construction of an AP1000 reactor. Westinghouse will supply the fuel for the new reactor from its plant in Sweden.
Earlier in October, Westinghouse signed agreements with five Bulgarian companies for future cooperation on the construction of new units at the country's Kozloduy NPP and other nuclear facilities in the region using the US corporation's AP1000 technology.
The AP1000 reactor is the only operating Generation III+ reactor with fully passive safety systems, modular construction design and has the smallest footprint per MWe on the market.
As EU countries seek to reduce dependence on Russia in the energy sector, at the end of 2022, the Kozloduy NPP signed contracts with Westinghouse and Framatome on the delivery of fuel for its two operating reactors. This secured independence from Russia, which was until then the sole supplier.
The contracts were signed after the parliament decided that the country must speed up the process of securing an alternative supplier for the power plant, which is currently using fuel delivered by Russian company TVEL.