Minister Malinov: Bulgaria develops its nuclear energy potential in cooperation with the U.S.A.

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Progress on key projects for new nuclear capacities in Bulgaria, diversification of fresh nuclear fuel and spent fuel storage, as well as prospects for using small modular reactors to successfully and timely respond to the challenges of decarbonization and energy security, were among the main topics discussed during the first meeting of the Steering Committee under the Intergovernmental Agreement between Bulgaria and the United States on cooperation on the project to build new nuclear capacities at the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant site and the civil nuclear programme of Bulgaria. The meeting took place in the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, where Energy Minister Vladimir Malinov is on a working visit. The Steering Committee also includes the Executive Director of “NPP Kozloduy New Builds” Petyo Ivanov. On the U.S. side, Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs, Andrew Light, attended the meeting.

“Our cooperation with Washington is key to developing our nuclear industry and achieving the objectives of responsible use of nuclear power, meeting clean energy needs, maintaining a high level of environmental protection,” Vladimir Malinov stressed during the Steering Committee meeting on building new nuclear capacities.

“Bulgaria wishes its nuclear program to continue to meet the highest standards of nuclear safety, security, reliability and efficiency. Our country would like to benefit from the expertise of U.S. government experts, regulators and nuclear industry in pursuing this goal.” he added.

The first meeting of the Steering Committee focused on the need for timely implementation of the project to build new nuclear capacity in Bulgaria with AP-1000 technology. In April, the contract for providing services for the initial engineering and design activities for the construction of Unit 7 of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant with contractor Westinghouse was completed. That allows the project company “NPP Kozloduy New Builds” to prepare a procedure for selecting a contractor and conduct negotiations to secure loan financing for the project, became clear during the meeting. As regards the financing of the project, Minister Malinov recalled that, according to a decision of the National Assembly of 18.12.2023, the proceeds from the sale of the equipment for the Belene Nuclear Power Plant Project were to be used solely for the construction of units 7 and 8 of Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant. Cooperation between the parties in the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste arising from the operation of the plant was also considered. The U.S. side informed about their experience in the development and use of small modular reactors. In the long term, according to Minister Malinov, Bulgaria would be interested in using this technology to produce clean energy.

As an example of the long-term diversification achieved so far in Bulgaria's nuclear power plant, Vladimir Malinov underscored the strategic importance of the supplied first quantities of fresh nuclear fuel produced by Westinghouse for Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant. “Within the ongoing planned outage of NPP’s Unit 5, the first 43 U.S. manufactured cartridges will be loaded,” the Bulgarian Minister added.

Following the Steering Committee meeting, Minister Vladimir Malinov held a bilateral meeting with the Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs Andrew Light. Both insisted that the two  sides should continue to build on their excellent co-operation to ensure energy security in the region.




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