Kozloduy in the frame for new build

27 November 2009

Despite ongoing difficulties with its plan for new reactors at Belene, Bulgarian ministers are actively considering new build at an existing nuclear site.


Kozloduy scultpure
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Speaking at a conference on the competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy, Traicho Traikov announced that a feasibility study on new reactors at Kozloduy would be ready next month. The minister of economy, energy and tourism specified that a capacity of around 1000 MWe is envisaged, which he said fits with existing infrastructure.


Two 405 MWe reactors at the plant were closed at the end of 2006 in an accession deal with the EU, while two later models continue to supply 953 MWe each and account for 35% of the country's power.


"In the coming days we will begin the selection of a consultant," said Traikov of the country's leading new nuclear project, Belene. This firm is meant to "set the framework" for Belene and get the two-reactor development back into motion after the departure of RWE as potential 49% stakeholder. Securing finance was the main difficulty under the old project framework, although criticism has been directed at the previous government. Now the new government has proposed to reduce its stake from 51% to 20% and invite new expressions of interest.


The Russian state is willing to support the export of its reactors, and has €3.8 billion already budgeted for a loan, but Bulgarian leaders are evidently unenthusiastic about the prospect.


On the question whether it is possible to begin two new nuclear projects, Traikov said it would be economically justified if a market wants the product. At present the region has a deficit of electricity, he noted, although there are many competing energy projects.