site.btaUPDATED Westinghouse Manager for Bulgaria Says 2032 Realistic for Westinghouse Reactor to Become Operational at Kozloduy NPP
Westinghouse Country Manager for Bulgaria Ivan Pironkov said on Tuesday during a conference on the development of nuclear energy, held in Sofia, that 2032 is a realistic deadline for a Westinghouse reactor to be operational at the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant site, and Bulgaria could be the first country in Europe to commission the AP1000 reactor. He said that there are currently four such reactors operating in China and two more units are about to be commissioned in the US.
Pironkov pointed out that six reactors in Ukraine, of a similar type to those at Kozloduy NPP, have already switched to using nuclear fuel from Westinghouse. Four of them are at the Zaporizhzhya NPP and two at the South Ukraine NPP.
"This shows that the fuel we are proposing for Kozloduy NPP is not a pilot project, but a technology that has already been tested and is working successfully and safely. Westinghouse has been developing fuel for VVER-1000 reactors since 1998, and the first plant for which such fuel was developed was the Czech Temelin NPP. For Kozloduy NPP we offer RWFA nuclear fuel, which has already proven its reliability in Ukraine. We also offer repairs of cartridges in cases of unsealing, because otherwise replacement costs a lot of money," Pironkov explained.
He expressed hope that the Bulgarian authorities will allow the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Kozloduy so that Bulgaria remains a country with a nuclear power plant.
Westinghouse has been developing engineering activities in Bulgaria for more than 10 years, and a major programme to upgrade systems at Kozloduy NPP is currently underway. The company is also working on projects in Spain, UK, United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Africa, etc., and it is the only one that has projects for refueling all types of nuclear reactors, Pironkov noted.
Bulatom President Bogomil Manchev said that developing the energy sector simultaneously develops the economy. According to him, if the Westinghouse unit becomes operational by 2038, Bulgaria will be able to start closing the coal plants in the Maritsa basin, but he expressed concern over economic stability in that period of time, because of the high emission prices. Manchev fully supported the government's energy strategy because it includes a forecasting period of nearly 30 years ahead, while nuclear power requires at least 20-30 years of planning. According to him, the State should train about 10,000 engineers to provide the necessary personnel to work on the construction and operation of the new nuclear facilities, both the American and French ones. He noted that out of these 10,000 engineers, only a third will remain, but that is the 'cost norm' of highly qualified personnel worldwide.