Kozloduy unit 6 clear to operate for another 10 years

02 October 2019

Bulgaria’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA) has granted a 10-year extension to the operating licence of unit 6 at the Kozloduy nuclear power unit. The Russian design VVER-1000 in northern Bulgaria started operation in 1991 and can now continue generating electricity until October 2029.

Kostov presenting the licence to Mihov yesterday (Image: NRA)

NRA Chairman Lachezar Kostov presented the licence to the executive director of Kozloduy NPP, Nasko Mihov, yesterday in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Economic and Demographic Policy Mariana Nikolova, Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova, the head of Bulgarian Energy Holding Jacqueline Cohen, as well as other government officials and representatives of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

"Today is a good day for Bulgaria and the Bulgarian economy because the role that the Kozloduy nuclear power plant plays in the country's energy system and economic development is extremely important," Petkova said.

The twin-unit plant provides more than 34% of the country's electricity, "guarantees clean energy at affordable prices", and "operates in compliance with the highest standards for safety and security, comparable with the safest nuclear power plants in the world", she added.

The Kozloduy plant has six pressurised water reactors. Unit 5, which also has a capacity of 1000 MWe, was connected to the grid in 1987, and in 2017 its service life was extended until 2027. The first four 440 MWe units were shut down between 2002 and 2006 as one of the conditions of Bulgaria's accession to the European Union.

Petkova said the licence extension for unit 6 had been one of the government's main priorities in the energy sector, fulfilling an important part of its "social contract" to guarantee the country's energy security. Extending the operation of the two units is "of the utmost importance" to maintaining the capacity and development of nuclear energy in the country, she said, while strictly complying with international environmental standards.

In the 28 years since its launch, unit 6 has produced nearly 175 TWh of electricity and avoided the emission of almost 208 million tonnes of CO2, the minister's statement added.

The Kozloduy project has been financed entirely by Kozloduy NPP company's own funds, she said. The total cost of the two-unit extension programme is BGN292 million (USD163 million), she said, adding that the company's "record profit" of BGN167 million last year had given "additional assurance about its robust financial condition and emphasises the key importance of the nuclear power plant for the economic development of the country". In the first eight months of this year the net profit of Kozloduy NPP was more than BGN270 million, she said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News