Uranium & Fuel

Bulgaria / Kozloduy Nuclear Station Signs Fuel Agreement With Westinghouse

By Kamen Kraev
22 December 2022

Contract with Russia’s state-owned Tvel to expire in 2025
Kozloduy Nuclear Station Signs Fuel Agreement With Westinghouse
Two VVER-1000 PWR units at Kozloduy on the Danube River supply about a third of Bulgaria's electricity. Image courtesy Kozloduy NPP.
Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power station signed a contract on Thursday (22 December) with the Swedish subsidiary of US-based Westinghouse Electric Company for the supply of nuclear fuel for one of two VVER-1000 commercial reactor units at the Kozloduy site.

The contract will be valid for 10 years with delivery of the Westinghouse-made fuel for Kozloduy-5 to start in April 2024, said Bulgarian news agency BTA.

Bulgaria has two Russia-designed VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor units in commercial operation at Kozloduy on the Danube River in the north of the country. The two plants, inherited from the socialist era, provide about one third of the country’s electricity.

The country currently receives nuclear fuel from Russia’s state-owned Tvel under a 2019 contract which is set to expire in 2025.

Last month, Bulgaria’s parliament passed a motion to speed up licensing procedures and potential supply of non-Russian nuclear fuel for Kozloduy.

Energy minister Rosen Hristov said at the time that apart from Russia’s Tvel, only Westinghouse and Framatome could supply fuel for VVER-1000 PWR designs.

He told journalists at a press conference on Thursday that receiving supplies from Tvel in 2024 would not be possible because the Russian side had asked for changes to the contract which had been “unacceptable”. In November, Mr Hristov said supplies from Russia had been “in question” due to Moscow's “reluctance to cooperate”.

According to local news agency Mediapool, Mr Hristov said Tvel was unable to deliver nuclear fuel by sea with a ban on maritime travel under a bridge connecting the Crimean Peninsula to Russia.

Mediapool said Tvel is expected to deliver six more batches of nuclear fuel for Kozloduy, but it remains likely the contract could be terminated before its expiry at the end of 2024.

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