Westinghouse, Framatome to provide fuel for Kozloduy

January 5, 2023, 6:59AMNuclear News

Westinghouse Electric and Framatome have signed agreements with Kozloduy NPP—the eponymous operator of Bulgaria’s only nuclear power facility—to fabricate and deliver fuel for the site’s two operating reactors. Westinghouse will provide the fuel for Unit 5 under a 10-year contract inked on December 22, while Framatome will supply Unit 6 under a December 30 preliminary deal. First deliveries of fuel from Westinghouse and Framatome are expected in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

The two agreements, according to the Bulgarian News Agency, “are part of an effort to diversify energy supplies to Bulgaria and do away with the country’s dependence on Russian energy resources.” In November, the Bulgarian National Assembly approved 156–47 a resolution tasking the country’s Council of Ministers with licensing non-Russian nuclear fuel for Kozloduy.

In a press release on its contract with Kozloduy NPP, Westinghouse stated that it has “an excellent track record of VVER nuclear fuel design used in VVER-1000 nuclear power plants in Ukraine with a decade of exceptional operational performance.” The fuel for Kozloduy, Westinghouse said, will be supplied out of the company’s fabrication site in Västerås, Sweden.

Both Kozloduy reactors are 1,003-MWe, Russian-designed VVER-1000/V320s. (Units 1–4, older VVER-440s, were retired earlier this century: Units 1 and 2 in 2004 and Units 3 and 4 in 2006.) Kozloduy-5 and -6 supply approximately one-third of Bulgaria’s electricity.

Currently, Kozloduy NPP receives fuel for the reactors from TVEL—a division of Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation—under a 2019 agreement set to expire at the end of 2024.

From left: Georgi Kirkov, executive director of Kozloduy NPP, and Aziz Dag, Westinghouse vice president of fuel VVER, sign the agreement in Sofia, Bulgaria, on December 22. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Signers’ language: At the signing ceremony with Westinghouse, Kozloduy NPP executive director Georgi Kirkov said, “We appreciate counting on Westinghouse as a business partner for this agreement, which is in line with our long-term goals of nuclear fuel diversification and security of supply.”

Tarik Choho, Westinghouse president of nuclear fuel, added, “Westinghouse provides best-in-class fuel assemblies for VVER-type reactors. We are proud to support Bulgaria on its path to ensure diversification and energy security. This long-term partnership will also reinforce the plant’s operational efficiency and high standards of safety.”

Following the signing of the pact with Framatome, Bulgarian energy minister Rossen Hristov told reporters that “with this agreement, we have now fully diversified fuel deliveries that will guarantee security of supplies.” Framatome senior executive vice president for operational excellence and fuel business Lionel Gaiffe noted that his firm “is very proud to participate in the supply of fresh nuclear fuel to Kozloduy, a power plant of great importance to Bulgaria.”

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