First reading: MPs approve indefinite licenses for nuclear facilities, but with a safety review every 10 years

Energy / Bulgaria
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The Parliament adopted in the first reading amendments to the Law on Safe Use of Nuclear Energy introduced by Delyan Dobrev (GERB-SDS) and Stanislav Anastasov (DPS).

The amendments propose the introduction of indefinite licenses for certain types of nuclear facilities, maintaining the requirement to carry out a periodic safety review (PSR) every 10 years, but within the framework of the current license, reports BTA.

In the reasons for the bill, it is stated that the regulatory practice in the European Union (EU) and in the developed countries with nuclear energy predominantly applies unlimited licenses, and with the entry of nuclear reactors of a new generation, the design life of nuclear power plants now reaches 60 years with options for extension.

It is envisaged that the license will be revoked in the event of a failed or non-conducted safety review. In connection with these amendments, the texts for payment of the annual license fees are also specified.

The reasons state that in the case of large projects, such as those for the construction of a nuclear power plant, the preferred approach is that of a three-phase design with the development of a conceptual, technical and operational design. The Law on Territorial Planning (LTP) allows the contracting authority to be issued a construction permit for the conceptual design phase and, accordingly, the contracting authority to proceed to the organization of the next stages of concluding an implementation contract, preparing the site, and others. However, the petitioners point out that this possibility under the LTP is limited in the Law on the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy and this requires a corresponding change.

Kosta Stoyanov from "Vazrazhdane" expressed concern about the texts in the law that affect the LTP. I am concerned that in Bulgaria we know how it is built, especially in recent years, if the mandatory phases of approval of technical or work projects and the control over them are omitted, there is a possibility that this will have a very large impact, including on the national security of Bulgaria, because these objects are important strategic, of national importance, he pointed out.

Mladen Shishkov from GERB-SDS explained that there are no grounds for concern, and the amendments harmonize the practice with all other objects that are currently being built under the LTP, making it possible to issue a construction permit for the conceptual design phase. There are no grounds for concern, the procedure is simply shortened in this way, he pointed out. There is no way to build the relevant installation or building or facility without a technical, respectively working project being approved, Shishkov added. He indicated that he would support this idea because it corresponded with their idea for a legislative initiative to shorten the design phases from three to two.

Given that you have already voted for the lobbying law for the purchase of nuclear reactors from a specific company, there is no point in continuing to unnecessarily shorten the terms, Kosta Stoyanov reiterated. Let us observe the current legislation and observe all phases of the construction process, he urged.

Borislav Gutsanov from "BSP for Bulgaria" suggested that this law is a preparatory phase for something that will happen tomorrow or next week. This will not be a theft, it will be a robbery, and this is exactly the prelude to what you are saying, dear colleagues of the "assembly", he commented. Gutsanov pointed out that the rulers gave up on "Belene" and donated the equipment to the nuclear power plant. "You are giving up 5 billion to do something that will cost 35 billion - isn't this a robbery, and on a technology that has a single working reactor," he commented.

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