Kozloduy and Belene milestones reached

26 October 2016

Work to upgrade unit 5 of the Kozloduy nuclear plant in Bulgaria has been completed, extending its operations by 30 years to 2047, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and Bulgaria's Energy Ministry both announced yesterday. Meanwhile, Bulgaria today committed itself to fast-tracking payment of the debt it incurred to Russian companies for scrapping the Belene nuclear power plant project.

The Kozloduy site is home to two operating Russian-designed VVER-1000 pressurised water reactors, Kozloduy 5 and 6, as well as four shut-down VVER-440s. Units 5 and 6 provide around one-third of Bulgaria's electricity. Unit 5's operating licence expires this month and that of unit 6 in October 2019.

The government enlisted a consortium of Rosatom subsidiaries Rosenergoatom and Rusatom Service, and France's EDF last year to carry out the work on unit 5. In January this year, Rusatom Services and Bulgaria's Risk Engineering Ltd signed a contract to extend the operating period of unit 6 to 60 years.

A protocol marking the handover of documents related to upgrade work on unit 5 was signed yesterday by Evgeny Sal'kov, general director of Rusatom Services, and Ivan Andreev, executive director of Kozloduy NPP plc. Bulgarian energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova, Rosatom First Deputy Director General Kiril Komarov and Bulgarian Nuclear Regulation Agency Chairman Luchezar Kostov witnessed the signing of the protocol.

Komarov said the documents state that studies demonstrate the equipment, building structures and systems of unit 5 are in working condition and can be safely used until 2047, "subject to work on resource management features".

In the same Rosatom statement, Petkova said "preserving Kozloduy's capacity will guarantee the stability of the Bulgarian energy system".


Today, Bulgaria's National Electricity Company (NEK) and Rosatom subsidiary Atomstroyexport (ASE) signed an agreement on compensation awarded to ASE for the cancellation of the Belene nuclear project. NEK awarded ASE the contract to build two 1000 MWe reactors at Belene in 2006, but the Bulgarian government scrapped the $10.5 billion project in 2012 amid difficulties in attracting investors.

The Geneva-based International Court of Arbitration ruled in favour of ASE in June and ordered NEK to pay €620 million ($677 million) for components which had already been manufactured for the Belene project. Petkova said the Court had "only" ruled that ASE be compensated for the cost of equipment it had produced for the plant. All other claims, including damages and lost profits for related expenses incurred outside its contract with NEK, had been ignored, the minister said. ASE had claimed a total of €1.2 billion, but the Court ordered the payment of "nearly half that", Petkova said.

ASE has now agreed to forego €23 million - or 55% - of interest accumulated after the original arbitration decision, thus reducing the final amount claimed to just over €600 million, on condition that NEK settles the claim between 16 and 25 December. NEK's initial payment of €5 million is to be deducted from the outstanding amount.

The ministry added that NEK will also have to pay ASE for expenses related to storing and maintaining the reactor equipment. 

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News