Minister Malinov: In cooperation with the USA, Bulgaria is developing the potential of its nuclear energy

Energy / Bulgaria
3E news
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Progress on the key projects for new nuclear capacities in Bulgaria, the diversification of fresh and spent nuclear fuel storage, as well as the prospects for using small modular reactors for a successful and timely response to the challenges related to decarbonization and energy security - these were among the main topics at the first meeting of the Steering Committee under the Intergovernmental Agreement between Bulgaria and the USA for cooperation on the project to build a new nuclear power plant at the Kozloduy NPP site and Bulgaria's civil nuclear program. The meeting was held at the US Department of Energy in Washington, where Energy Minister Vladimir Malinov is on a working visit. The Executive Director of "Kozloduy NPP-New Powers" Petyo Ivanov also participates in the Management Committee. On the American side, the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the US Department of Energy, Andrew Light, participated in the meeting.

"Our cooperation with Washington is key to the development of the nuclear industry in our country and to achieving the goals related to the responsible use of nuclear energy, meeting the needs of clean energy, and maintaining a high level of environmental protection," emphasized Vladimir Malinov time of the meeting of the Steering Committee for the construction of new nuclear facilities.

"Bulgaria wants its nuclear program to continue to meet the highest standards of nuclear safety, security, reliability and efficiency. Our country has a strong interest in using the expertise of government experts, regulatory authorities and the US nuclear industry in supporting this goal," he further stated.

The main topic of the first meeting of the Steering Committee was the need for timely implementation of the project to build a new nuclear power plant in our country with AP1000 technology. In April, the execution of the contract for the provision of services for initial engineering activities and design for the construction of the 7th block of the Kozloduy NPP with the contractor Westinghouse was completed. This gives the project company "NPP Kozloduy-New Capacities" the opportunity to prepare a procedure for selecting a contractor and conducting negotiations to secure loan financing for the project, it became clear during the meeting. Regarding the financing of the project, Minister Malinov recalled that according to the decision of the National Assembly of 18.12.2023, the revenues from the sale of the equipment for the "Belene" NPP project should be used only for the construction of the 7th and 8th units of Kozloduy NPP". The issue of cooperation between the parties in the process of managing the spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste resulting from the operation of the plant was also discussed. On the American side, the experience in the development and use of small modular reactors was also presented. According to Minister Malinov, in the long term it would be of interest for Bulgaria to use this technology for the production of clean energy.

As an example of already achieved long-term diversification for the Bulgarian nuclear power plant, Vladimir Malinov highlighted the strategic importance of the already delivered first quantities of fresh nuclear fuel produced by Westinghouse for the Kozloduy NPP. "As part of the planned annual repair of the 5th unit of the plant, the first 43 cassettes are to be loaded with American fuel," he added.

After the meeting of the Steering Committee, Minister Vladimir Malinov held a bilateral meeting with the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the US Department of Energy, Andrew Light. The two were adamant that the countries will continue to build on their excellent cooperation in order to guarantee energy security in the region.

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