Kozloduy and Framatome sign nuclear fuel agreement

04 January 2023

The agreement with France's Framatome follows a deal with US firm Westinghouse and is part of the Bulgarian nuclear power plant's diversification of nuclear fuel supply.

Georgi Kirkov, executive director of Kozloduy, left, shakes hands with Lionel Gaiffe, Framatome's senior executive vice president, fuel business unit (Image: Kozloduy NPP)

Bulgarian energy minister Rossen Hristov said the agreement signed on 30 December made it "an important day in the history" of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant as it diversifies fuel supplies for the country's nuclear power plant - moving from its previous Russian supplier, TVEL, to the US and French suppliers for the VVER-1000 reactors.

On 22 December, a contract for the production and supply of assemblies with fresh nuclear fuel for the fifth unit of the Kozloduy plant was signed with Westinghouse. The agreement with Framatome also sets out the schedule of future negotiations and the conclusion of a contract for the supply of fresh nuclear fuel for the sixth unit. The two parties will conclude a contract for up to 12 recharges for the period 2025-2034 inclusive.

"Continuous operation of the Kozloduy NPP at maximum capacity is extremely important for the energy and national security of Bulgaria," said Hristov. Bulgaria's National Assembly voted in November for an acceleration of the process of securing an alternative to Russia as supplier of nuclear fuel.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Energy said that European diversification requirements were intended to ensure the security of supply of nuclear materials and services in the nuclear fuel cycle for all organisations operating nuclear power plants within the European Union.

The Kozloduy plant is in the northwest of Bulgaria on the Danube River and provides about 34% of the country's electricity. It features two Russian-designed VVER-1000 units currently in operation, which have both been through refurbishment and life extension programmes to enable extension of operation from 30 to 60 years.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News