FEED contract signed for Bulgarian AP1000

15 June 2023

Westinghouse has signed a front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract with Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild for the construction of an AP1000 reactor at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant site in Bulgaria.

The signing of the FEED contract (Image: Westinghouse)

In January, Bulgaria's parliament asked ministers to negotiate with the US government for a new AP1000 unit at Kozloduy. The vote urged action to be taken by 1 March which would speed up the process of approval and construction of what would be unit 7 of the Kozloduy plant, as well as initiating a licensing and environmental impact assessment procedure for what would be unit 8.

Two months later, Westinghouse and Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to initiate planning for the potential deployment of one or more of its AP1000 reactors at Kozloduy. The MoU established a joint working group to "evaluate regulatory, licensing and design bases to ensure full compliance with applicable regulations as well as a streamlined execution path to enable Bulgaria to achieve its nuclear energy goals".

The FEED contract is "the first step in delivering the AP1000 reactor project", Westinghouse said. It was signed by Westinghouse Senior Vice President for Commercial Operations Elias Gedeon and Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild CEO Valentin Iliev.

Westinghouse said: "Work is commencing per the agreement to assess Bulgarian industry and the existing infrastructure at the Kozloduy site for its potential to support the construction of an AP1000 reactor."

"We are pleased to begin work to deliver the world's most advanced, Generation III+ reactor technology to provide clean and reliable baseload energy for our customer and the people of Bulgaria," said David Durham, Energy Systems President for Westinghouse. "We thank Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild and the Bulgarian Parliament for their confidence in our industry-leading, Nth of a kind technology. We commend Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild for their thoughtful approach to best-in-class project delivery that will ensure high localization of the work."

Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild is a special project company owned by the existing nuclear power plant and has been established to manage the project to build one or two new reactors at the Kozloduy site.

The Kozloduy plant is in the northwest of Bulgaria on the Danube River and provides about 34% of the country's electricity.

Kozloduy units 1-4 were VVER-440 models which the European Commission had classified as non-upgradeable and Bulgaria agreed to close them down during their negotiations to join the European Union in 2007. Units 5 and 6 feature VVER-1000 reactors that were connected to the grid in 1987 and 1991, respectively. Both units have been through refurbishment and life extension programmes to enable extension of operation from 30 to 60 years.

In December last year, Westinghouse signed a 10-year agreement to supply fuel to Kozloduy unit 5 from 2024. The contract followed a vote by Bulgaria's National Assembly the previous month for an acceleration of the process of securing an alternative to Russia as supplier of nuclear fuel. An agreement signed with Framatome in January sets out the schedule of future negotiations and the conclusion of a contract for the supply of fuel for unit 6. The two parties will conclude a contract for up to 12 recharges for the period 2025-2034 inclusive.

Energy minister Rossen Hristov in January set out an energy strategy for 2023 to 2053 for Bulgaria, which includes plans for two new reactors at Kozloduy and two at Belene where a project to construct two VVER-1000 units was suspended in 2012.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News