Kozloduy said in a statement that the contract is part of the station’s efforts to diversify its fuel supplier portfolio as required by the European Union’s energy security strategy.
Diversification plans were coordinated with the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA), the body which supervises nuclear fuel supplies in the bloc.
In March 2019, ESA director-general Agnieszka Kaźmierczak said that the agency was concerned about Kozloduy’s “excessive” dependence on a single out-of-EU supplier.
Kozloduy said Westinghouse fuel is to be used at Kozloduy-5, a 1,003-MW VVER/V-320 pressurised water reactor unit built with Soviet assistance in the 1980s.
The preparation of a “detailed and in-depth” safety assessment is required by Bulgarian law in order to obtain a permit from the national regulator for the commissioning of new fuel assemblies, Kozloduy said.
Results of the assessment will be presented to the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency for a final say on the fuel licence.
Kozloduy-5 and Kozloduy-6, which is also a VVER/V-320 PWR, are Bulgaria’s only commercially operational nuclear plants.
Bulgaria is currently receiving all of its nuclear fuel from Russia’s Tvel under a contract which was renewed in 2019 and is valid until 2025.
In March 2019 Kozloduy asked Westinghouse Electric Sweden to provide technical and economic justification for the licensing and use of its improved nuclear fuel at the two-unit station.
According to Westinghouse, its VVER-1000 fuel is being used at six nuclear reactor units in Ukraine and is undergoing a licensing process in the Czech Republic for use at the Temelin nuclear station.
All the Westinghouse VVER fuel is manufactured at the company’s fabrication facility in Västerås, Sweden.