Contract for Bulgarian repository design

26 October 2011

Bulgaria has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to an international consortium for the design of a national low- and intermediate-level waste (LLW and ILW) repository on land adjacent to the Kozloduy nuclear power plant.


Kozloduy LLW-ILW repository contract
The contract signing ceremony (Image: Bulgarian energy ministry)
The Bulgarian State Enterprise for Radioactive Waste (SERAW) awarded the contract to a consortium comprising Westinghouse Electric Spain (WES), Germany's DBE Technology and Spanish decommissioning firm Enresa. Westinghouse led the bid, utilizing its experience on the El Cabril project - the Spanish LLW and ILW repository - which was designed by WES in the 1980s.


The Bulgarian energy ministry said that the repository, scheduled to open in 2015, will accept wastes over the next 60 years and store it for some 300 years. The repository is to be a modular-type facility, allowing the successive construction of building sections to gradually increase the storage capacity, as needed. It will eventually have the capacity to store up to 138,200 cubic metres (345,000 tonnes) of waste. For comparison, in 2010 the Kozloduy plant generated some 1400 m3 of LLW and ILW, the ministry noted. The repository will cost €120 million ($167 million) and will be paid for from the radioactive waste fund of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


Bulgarian energy minister Traycho Traykov, who attended the contract signing ceremony, commented: "With the establishment of a national repository for the disposal of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste, Bulgaria will meet the criteria set by the International Atomic Energy Agency for the sustainable management of radioactive waste."


In April 2009, SERAW awarded a €2.6 million ($3.6 million) three-year contract to a consortium comprising of Empresarios Agrupados Internacinal SA , VT Nuclear Services and ENPRO Consult of Bulgaria to project manage the facility. That consortium is responsible for site selection, design, safety assessment construction and commissioning of the facility.


The repository will be a near-surface facility, which means that waste packages could be removed in future if necessary. The wastes in question will primarily come from the Kozloduy nuclear power plant, at which two operating reactors produce 35% of the country's electricity. The plant contributes 3% of the average market price of its power into a radioactive waste fund that will be used for this project. Four shut down power reactors are on the Kozloduy site, which will also generate LLW and ILW through decommissioning activities.


Low-level waste is typically composed of things like clothes, filters, and equipment used routinely at nuclear sites. It is usually placed in drums that are then compacted. Intermediate-level waste contains things like resins, chemical sludges and metal fuel claddings which have higher levels of radioactivity and require shielding.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News