Greece, Serbia and North Macedonia would prefer long-term supply contracts than to invest in two new reactors in the Kozloduy nuclear power plant, according to Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov.
Westinghouse Electric Co. recently signed memorandums of understanding with potential contractors in Bulgaria and the Council of Ministers has just approved a EUR 255 million capital injection for the Kozloduy NPP – New Build. Following the move, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov clarified that after the construction of unit 7 in the nuclear power plant, by 2035, the idea is to add unit 8 within just three years.
The AP1000 reactor, designed by Westinghouse, is flexible, he explained in an interview with Euractiv. It has 1.15 GW, but it can be quickly weakened to operate at as low as 700 MW, Denkov pointed out. It is a significant feature for adapting to the needs for balancing the operation of solar and wind power plants.
The AP1000 model is flexible – it can work at as low as 700 MW
Unit 8 would be installed at the same location and the government is already initiating the environmental impact assessment procedure, the prime minister stressed. The two new reactors are envisaged to provide baseload electricity as coal power plants are gradually taken offline. Their phaseout is scheduled to be completed by 2038.
Asked about European funding, Denkov claimed it is not a major issue and that a model for the purchase of electricity needs to be adopted.
“There is interest from Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia probably. But they have to decide what they prefer – as do we, what is more profitable for us – whether they enter the project as investors or to be with fixed contracts for the purchase of electricity. From what I hear, they seem to prefer the second option, but the discussion is open,” the prime minister stated.
Of note, in mid-October Bulgaria rolled out a transit tax for Russian gas, which will affect Serbia, Greece, North Macedonia, Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Greece expressed interest in 20-year power supply deal
After meeting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in July, Denkov said the government in Athens is interested in investing in the new reactors. In his words at the time, the alternative option would be a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Westinghouse said it signed memorandums of understanding with potential suppliers in Bulgaria
The government selected Westinghouse four months ago to produce front-end engineering and design (FEED) for unit 7. The deal followed a ten-year agreement signed with the United States–based utility last November for the supply of nuclear fuel for the existing Kozloduy 5 unit.
Bulgaria offered to Slovenia in August to join the project for the new reactors. The Kozloduy facility has two operating reactors while four have been shut down. The Belene nuclear power project was officially scrapped earlier this month.
In other developments, Westinghouse signed memorandums of understanding last week with Bulgarian providers of equipment and service. Firms including OSKAR-EL, EnergoService and EQE Bulgaria are planned to participate in the Kozloduy project but also other investments.
Together with the capital injection of EUR 255 million for state-owned Kozloduy NPP – New Build, the government authorized it to start negotiations on choosing contractors for the seventh unit.
Bulgaria to accelerate Alexandroupolis-Burgas oil pipeline project
In the same interview, Denkov said the project for an oil pipeline from Alexandroupolis in Greece to Burgas would be accelerated. He pointed to the risk that the Lukoil refinery in the Black Sea port runs out of oil to process. Bulgaria is obligated to cease importing Russian oil by the end of 2024.
The idea is to create a company like ICGB to build and operate the oil pipeline to Burgas
The oil pipeline from Alexandroupolis would circumvent the Bosphorus. The idea is to create a company to build and operate the system based on the model under which ICGB, the operator of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria gas pipeline, was established. Bulgaria would use part of the same route as it already has an environmental assessment.
“From the Bulgarian side, we are talking about a public project – we want to have control so as not to become dependent on other factors. There is also interest from the Greek side,” Denkov stated.
Romania is interested in extending the oil pipeline from Burgas to its border. The prime minister revealed that there is also a possibility to run the pipeline through Stara Zagora.