The agreement: The U.S. and Bulgarian governments on October 23 signed a nuclear cooperation memorandum of understanding (NCMOU)—a U.S. diplomatic instrument of recent origin that, according to the State Department, “strengthens and expands strategic ties between the United States and a partner country by providing a framework for cooperation on civil nuclear issues and for engagement between experts from government, industry, national laboratories, and academic institutions.”
Further, the department stated, “NCMOUs can provide the foundation for helping partner countries prepare to take advantage of the advanced nuclear technologies and coming innovations in reactor design and other areas that are being pioneered in the United States. NCMOUs can support U.S. industry’s entry into new markets or cement its position in existing markets through increased visibility and U.S. government engagement.”
Buy U.S.: During a visit to the Kozloduy nuclear power plant on October 13, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said, “We are going to construct [Kozloduy Unit 7] using a technology that is completely different— the reactor will be American.” The following day, the Bulgarian government instructed state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding to begin discussions with U.S. nuclear technology companies regarding options for reactor construction.
Bulgaria’s only nuclear power facility, Kozloduy houses two operating reactors—Unit 5, a 963-MWe pressurized water reactor, and Unit 6, a 1,003-MWe PWR. Both are Russian-designed VVER-1000s. The plant also includes four retired units, all VVER-440s. Units 1 and 2 were shut down in early 2004, and Units 3 and 4 at the end of 2006.