The Bulgarian government has started the construction of a radioactive waste repository to store low and medium-level waste. The country’s Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova attended a ground breaking ceremony for the repository at Radiana which will be used to store radioactive waste from the decommissioned reactors at the Kozloduj nuclear power plant.
Also present at the ceremony was Diljan Petrov, CEO of the government radioactive waste enterprise which is in charge of the repository and of the decommissioning of four outdated nuclear reactors at the Kozloduy plant.
Bulgarian media said the trench-type facility will have multi-barrier protection for the storage of radioactive waste in reinforced concrete. That waste will come from the decommissioned reactors but industrial, medical and household waste will also be brought to the repository.
The reports said no high-level waste or spent nuclear fuel will be stored at the facility once it is finished. The repository, located in the 3 kilometer surveillance zone near the country’s only nuclear plant, will have a capacity of more than 130,000 cubic meters and is expected to be ready for waste storage in 2021 with an operational life of some 60 years. The facility will then be closed and closely monitored for another 300 years.
The Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) is financing the first stage of construction with a grant of EUR 71.8 million.
The Bulgarian radioactive waste enterprise contracted the construction of the repository with the Nukem Technologies consortium, which is owned by Russia’s AtomStroyExport, and four Bulgarian companies.
Bulgaria committed to the construction of the repository and the shutting down the 4 soviet-built reactors at Kozloduj in negotiations to join the European Union. The European Commission classified the V-230 model VVER-440 reactors as non-upgradable.
Bulgaria has two more 1,000 MW Russian-built reactors operating at the Kozloduj plant.