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HomebulgariaBulgarian government must urgently find non-Russian nuclear fuel

Bulgarian government must urgently find non-Russian nuclear fuel

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Parliament has obliged the caretaker government to speed up the procedure to close a deal for the supply of non-Russian nuclear fuel for the Kozloduy nuclear power plant’s two Soviet reactors which until now have only been supplied by Moscow.

The proposal to speed up the procedure to obtain non-Russian nuclear fuel was put forward by GERB, the party of former prime minister Boyko Borissov. According to the party, the government must urgently guarantee the country’s energy and national security by providing an alternative to Russian fuel for the nuclear power plant.

Many lawmakers supported GERB’s proposal, meaning the caretaker government must now ensure the first delivery of non-Russian fuel takes place by April 2024 at the latest, and that the deal must be completely independent of Russian suppliers.

The Council of Ministers must take all necessary measures to ensure the activities of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency to licence and load non-Russian nuclear fuel by 2024, the parliament’s decision also states.

Parliament’s decision was only opposed by the pro-Russian parties, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the anti-European party, Vazrazhdane, who believe the proposal was pushed by GERB to benefit US company, Westinghouse.

“Half of the reactors in Ukraine run on Westinghouse fuel. However, I repeat again – it does not say that the fuel will be from Westinghouse. It says here that the fuel must not have Russian components to avoid sanctions, Vazrazhdane said.

In response, the chairman of the energy commission Delyan Dobrev (GERB), said that fuel can come from French company Framatome or US company Westinghouse.

On 21 October, Acting Energy Minister Rosen Hristov announced that the government is preparing a tender for the supply of fresh nuclear fuel for the Kozloduy NPP. Westinghouse and Framatome appear to be the main contenders to supply fuel to the plant.

Framatome is already working on removing Russian technologies and components and will be clean of Russian technologies within a few years, said caretaker Energy Minister Rosen Hristov. Kozloduy NPP has a contract with the Russian company TVEL for the supply of fresh nuclear fuel until the end of 2024.

Bulgaria has secured the fuel until the annual recharging of one of its nuclear reactors until the end of 2024, and for the other reactor, there is fuel for a partial replacement in 2027.

The nuclear power plant produces about one-third of the country’s electricity and is key to maintaining electricity exports to neighbouring countries.

Source :Euractiv

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