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Bulgaria operates six units at its Kozloduy nuclear power plant--four VVER-440/230s and two VVER-1000s. In 1997, nuclear power supplied 45 percent of the country's electricity. However, at times that share has often risen to nearly 50 percent because fossil fuel power plants and hydropower plants have not achieved expected outputs.
The Bulgarian Energy Committee is charged with developing a national energy policy. Operation of the Kozloduy nuclear plant is the responsibility of NEC. The Bulgarian government' s energy strategy calls for building a new nuclear plant, probably at Belene, with Units 1-4 at the Kozloduy plant operating until 2003 and Units 5 and 6 until 2010. The plan also calls for construction of 1,500 MW of coal-fire generating capacity, 1,200 MW of hydropower, and a pumped storage plant.
Although there are no immediate plans to privatize the NEC, it is being restructured to improve the economy of its operations.
Between 1991 and 1993, NEC undertook a comprehensive program for upgrading Kozloduy Units 1-4. The program focused on Units 1 and 2, aiming to restore them to their original operating condition and improve their reliability and safety. Units 3 and 4 were subject to a short-term upgrading effort.
Nuclear plant oversight is the responsibility of the Bulgarian Committee on the Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy. Within the committee is an inspectorate division, which is responsible for establishing safety requirements for all nuclear licensees, verifying that the requirements are met, establishing licensing requirements, processing license applications, and issuing licenses. One of the inspectorate's units -- the Division of Safe Operation of Nuclear Installations -- supplies onsite inspectors. There are six inspectors at the Kozloduy plant.
In 1993, NEC signed a five-year agreement with Russia for the supply of nuclear fuel. Although NEC agreed to pay for fuel in hard currency, the price will be negotiated for each shipment of fuel.
Spent fuel is now being sent to Russia for reprocessing, but Bulgaria has taken bids on a new spent fuel storage facility, to be built near the Kozloduy plant.
Source: Source Book , 4th ed., Nuclear Energy Institute, 1996; Soviet-Designed Nuclear Power Plant Profiles , U.S. Department of Energy, 1999
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