Bulgarian Watchdog Ready to OK Belene NPP Project in 1 Week

Energy | February 19, 2014, Wednesday // 10:42|  views

Lachezar Kostov, Chair of Bulgaria's Nuclear Regulatory Agency, photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Nuclear Regulatory Agency is ready to approve the project for the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant within a week, according to BNRA Chair Lachezar Kostov.

In an interview for ITAR-TASS, Kostov explained that the BNRA found that the evaluation of the technical design for the construction of two N-plant units on the site of the Belene NPP was complete.

He underscored that the evaluation had been conducted by international and domestic experts, all of whom had given the green light to the scheme.

Kostov noted that the Belene NPP project had passed stress tests, taking into account that the practice was only applicable to existing N-plants in the EU.

He reminded that the mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had also evaluated the stress tests and the Belene NPP project had received a very high estimate.

"We are ready to approve it within a week," he declared.

Asked to comment on the opportunity to build a seventh unit of the Kozloduy NPP using the technology of US Westinghouse, the BNRA Chair suggested that the project could take quite some time to implement.

"We are in talks with Westinghouse but no final decision has been reached. We are far from the stage of approving the technical design. Judging by my experience with the Belene NPP project, I can say that this process took eight years. Therefore, the idea to start construction works in 2016 sounds unrealistic," Kostov stated.

The BNRA Chair was optimistic about the development prospects of Bulgaria's nuclear energy sector.

"Bulgaria started developing nuclear energy many years ago and I am proud of that. We proved that we are capable of using it efficiently and safely. This is why I cannot imagine that Bulgaria's energy sector would develop without nuclear technology," he claimed.

The construction of the Belene NPP was one of the election promises of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

The Belene NPP project was terminated by the previous government of center-right party GERB, after the referendum of January 2013, initiated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), failed to summon the necessary number of voters.

The government decided to launch a project for the expansion of the existing Kozloduy nuclear power plant instead.

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Tags: Nuclear Regulatory Agency, Belene NPP, Kozloduy NPP, N-Plant, Nuclear Power Plant, Socialist-led government, GERB government, Westinghouse, Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP


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