site.btaEnergy Minister: Bulgaria Develops Its Nuclear Energy Potential in Cooperation with USA

Energy Minister: Bulgaria Develops Its Nuclear Energy Potential in Cooperation with USA
Energy Minister: Bulgaria Develops Its Nuclear Energy Potential in Cooperation with USA
Energy Ministry Photo

The progress on the key projects for new nuclear capacities in Bulgaria, the diversification of fresh and spent nuclear fuel storage, and the prospects for the use of small modular reactors for a successful and timely response to the challenges related to decarbonization and energy security - these were among the main topics of the first meeting of the steering committee of the intergovernmental agreement between Bulgaria and the United States for cooperation on the project for the construction of new nuclear power capacity at the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant site and Bulgaria's civil nuclear programme. The meeting was held at the US Department of Energy in Washington, where caretaker Energy Minister Vladimir Malinov is on a working visit, his ministry said on Tuesday. Executive director of “Kozloduy NPP - New Builds” PLC Petyo Ivanov is also on the steering committee. On the US side, the meeting was attended by the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the US Department of Energy, Andrew Light.

Minister Malinov noted that the cooperation with Washington is key for the development of Bulgaria’s nuclear industry and for achieving the goals related to the responsible use of nuclear energy, meeting the needs for clean energy, and maintaining a high level of environmental protection.

"Bulgaria wants its nuclear programme to continue to meet the highest standards of nuclear safety, security, reliability, and efficiency. Our country has a strong interest in leveraging the expertise of U.S. government experts, regulators and the nuclear industry in maintaining this goal," he said. 

The main topic of the first meeting of the steering committee was the need for timely implementation of the project to build a new nuclear power plant in Bulgaria with AP1000 technology. In April, the contract for the provision of initial engineering and design services for the construction of Kozloduy NPP Unit 7 with contractor Westinghouse was completed. This enables Kozloduy NPP - New Builds to prepare a procedure for selecting a contractor and conducting negotiations to secure loan financing for the project. 

Regarding the financing of the project, Minister Malinov pointed out that according to the decision of the National Assembly of December 18, 2023, the proceeds from the sale of the equipment for the Belene NPP project should be used only for the construction of Units 7 and 8 of Kozloduy NPP. 

The meeting also discussed cooperation in the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste resulting from the operation of the plant. The US representatives shared experience in the development and use of small modular reactors. According to Minister Malinov, in the long term Bulgaria would be interested to use this technology for clean energy production. 

As an example of the diversification already achieved for the Bulgarian nuclear power plant, Vladimir Malinov highlighted the strategic importance of the first quantities of fresh nuclear fuel already delivered by Westinghouse to Kozloduy NPP. "The first 43 cartridges of US fuel are to be loaded within the framework of the currently planned annual maintenance of Unit 5 of the plant," he added.

In a bilateral meeting later, Minister Malinov and Assistant Secretary Andrew Light reconfirmed the two countries’ intention to build on their excellent cooperation to ensure energy security in the region.

/RY/

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By 07:48 on 13.06.2024 Today`s news

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