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August 10, 2022
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Parliamentary Energy Committee Chair Says Bulgaria Should Start “Real Work” on Its New Nuclear Power ProjectsThis or Next Year

The majority of Bulgarians are happy with nuclear energy and Bulgaria should start “real work” on its projects for new nuclear power facilities this or next year. This was the highlight of Parliamentary Energy committee Chair Valentin Nikolov’s remarks, made during an online discussion of the future of nuclear energy in Bulgaria.

Nikolov cited two recent polls, by the Trend polling agency and by the National Centre for Parliamentary Research with the National Assembly, which showed that most Bulgarians are supportive of the construction of a new N-plant at Belene and a new reactor in Bulgaria’s only existing Kozloduy N-plant.

Having started in 1987, the Belene project was suspended and restarted more than once over the years. The last time a moratorium on its construction was abolished by Parliament, was in June 2018. In December 2019, Bulgaria announced that Russia’s Rosatom, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. Ltd. (KHNP), the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), France’s Framatome and General Electric of the US had been shortlisted for negotiations on the Belene project and would be invited to submit binding bids. The Russian, South Korean and Chinese companies were bidding to be strategic investors, Framatome to supply the safety systems and finance the share of its participation, and General Electric to manufacture turbines and other equipment, and also self-finance this part of the project. In June 2020, the Energy Minister said that Rosatom, Framatome SAS, and GE Steam Power would put together a consortium to bid for a strategic investor in Belene. The project is designed to use Russian N-plant technology and Russia’s Atomstroyexport has produced equipment worth hundreds of millions of euro for it.

The possible construction of a new power unit at Kozloduy cropped up in mid-October 2020 when Prime Minister Boyko Borissov visited what he said would be the site of the future Unit 7 and said it would use an American reactor and fuel. Shortly after, that the government authorized the Bulgarian Energy Holding to hold talks with US nuclear energy companies, including those offering Small Modular Reactors, in view of exploring options to build a new power unit on the approved Site 2 of the Kozloduy N-plant.

The Chair of the Parliamentary Energy Committee said here Tuesday that this country has “a unique chance to work simultaneously on the two projects”. He said that this and next year are “among the most important because we have to go ahead with real work on the projects”.

“Bulgaria won’t have a new nuclear power facility in the next ten years but we have to start building if we don’t want to lose this energy source,” Nikolov said.

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