Bulgaria enlists Fluor and NuScale

29 October 2021

Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with US engineering firm Fluor to look at the possibility of replacing coal boilers with NuScale small nuclear reactors, among other things. The country has committed to stop using coal for electricity generation by 2037 or 2040.

Bulgaria's electricity system (Image: BEH)

Fluor said it has agreed with BEH "to cooperate in evaluating potential programme management services, front-end engineering, evaluation of the existing coal-fired fleet for potential nuclear small modular reactor (SMR) re-purposement projects, and the assessment of the Bulgarian supply chain and other related services."

The work was linked to new build at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant by BEH CEO Valentin Nikolov, who noted: "The necessity of implementing safe and reliable clean power at Kozloduy is well understood in Bulgaria and eastern Europe." He signed the MoU with Fluor's Frank Dishon at a ceremony attended by the Deputy Minister of Energy Miroslav Damyanov and the executive director of Kozloduy for new build Lyuben Marinov.

BEH said the MoU covered "exchange of information and provision of preliminary assistance intended to help Bulgaria's transition towards a zero-emission energy system." However, Fluor was more specific and linked it to potential deployment of NuScale SMRs to replace Bulgarian coal plants.

Fluor is the majority investor in NuScale and said that with their combined capabilities, "we can achieve European and Bulgarian policy goals in a more diversified power market, improve the security of energy supply and add sufficient value for the national gross domestic product."

NuScale SMRs would produce 77 MWe and be built in packs of four, six or 12. They are also under consideration as a substitute for coal in Poland.

On 14 October, the Bulgarian caretaker government notified the European Commission that it plans to stop burning coal for electricity by 2037 or 2040. BEH owns one of Bulgaria's five coal power plants.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News