Bulgaria's Kozloduy plant switching to Westinghouse fuel

April 23, 2024, 9:07AMNuclear News
Bulgarian prime minister Dimitar Glavchev, left, and acting energy minister Vladimir Malinov visited Kozloduy nuclear power plant, where Westinghouse is lined up to build two new reactors. (Photo: gov.bg)

Bulgarian officials have approved the transition to Westinghouse fuel at the nation's Kozloduy nuclear power plant, as Bulgaria moves away from its reliance on Russian supplies. The fuel was recently delivered for use in Unit 5.

The hope is to diversify the facility’s supply chain, with France’s Framatome under contract to provide fuel for Unit 6.

In November 2022, Bulgaria took steps to accelerate the process of securing an alternative to Russia as supplier of nuclear fuel for the Russian-designed VVER-1000 units at Kozloduy. Officials signed a 10-year contract with Westinghouse to fabricate and deliver VVER-1000 nuclear fuel supplied from Westinghouse's fabrication site in Västerås, Sweden.

What’s next: Operators plan to load the first 43 cartridges of fresh nuclear fuel in May.

Bulgaria’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency had already issued a license for the storage of Robust Westinghouse Fuel Assembly fuel, with a permit for its operation issued this week. The phased transition will take four years to complete.

Earlier this year, the Bulgarian parliament entered into talks with South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction for engineering, construction, delivery, and commissioning of new Westinghouse AP1000 units planned for the Kozloduy site. Bulgaria hopes to have a final investment decision by the middle of next year—paving the way to bring Unit 7 on line in 2035 and Unit 8 in 2037.

Background: Kozloduy is Bulgaria’s only nuclear power facility. It is located close to the Danube River, which forms a border with Romania. The plant houses two operating VVER-1000/V320 reactors—the 963-MWe Unit 5 and 1,003-MWe Unit 6. Both units have undergone refurbishment to extend their licenses from 30 years to 60.

The plant provides about 34 percent of Bulgaria’s electricity.

Four retired units, all VVER-440s, are also housed at Kozloduy. Units 1 and 2 were shuttered in early 2004, and Units 3 and 4 at the end of 2006.

Related Articles

Vogtle-4 enters commercial operation

April 29, 2024, 9:32AMNuclear News

Unit 4 at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle has entered commercial operation, the company announced today. The new unit can produce enough electricity to power an estimated 500,000 homes and...