First Westinghouse fuel loaded at Bulgaria's Kozloduy

29 May 2024

Bulgarian Prime Minister Dimitar Glavchev was among those marking the loading of Westinghouse VVER fuel into the country's Kozloduy nuclear power plant's unit 5, part of its supply diversification process.

From left to right: Aziz Dag, Senior Vice President, Global BWR and VVER Fuel Business, Westinghouse; Valentin Nikolov, CEO, Kozloduy NPP, Dimitar Glavchev, Bulgarian Prime Minister; Vladimir Malinov, Minister of Energy; H.E. Kenneth Merten, US Ambassador to Bulgaria (Image: Westinghouse)

Glavchev called it an important day in the development of the Bulgarian nuclear energy industry, marking a break from its past reliance on Russia for fuel for its two reactors. He noted that discussions with Westinghouse began in 2009.

"It's always good to have a choice. Diversification provides us with exactly that - a choice that gives better opportunities with 100% safety and security," Glavchev said.

Westinghouse signed a 10-year supply contract in December 2022 and is supplying its RWFA VVER-1000 fuel design, which the American company has been supplying to several Ukrainian plants over the past decade.

Valentin Nikolov, Executive Director of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, said: "This is a key element of our strategy as we strive to maintain the high performance of our plant and ensure safe, reliable and affordable energy for Bulgaria and the region."

Tarik Choho, Westinghouse President of Nuclear Fuel, said: "Kozloduy celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and we are pleased to contribute to our customer’s fuel supply diversification with this first reload. We are looking forward to building on this long-term partnership as we also make significant progress with Kozloduy NPP on the opportunity to build two Westinghouse AP1000 units at this site.”

The Kozloduy nuclear power plant is in the northwest of Bulgaria on the Danube River and provides about 34% of the country's electricity. It features two VVER-1000 units currently in operation, which have both been through refurbishment and life extension programmes to enable extension of operation from 30 to 60 years. Unit 5 was connected to the grid in 1987 and unit 6 in 1991.

As well as the fuel supply agreement with Westinghouse for unit 5, Kozloduy also signed an agreement with France's Framatome to supply fuel for unit 6.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News