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Bulgarian nuclear reactor shut down after technical glitch

Tsvetelia Tsolova  Reuters, OCT 30, 2022, SOFIA, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Bulgarian nuclear power plant Kozloduy has shut down its 1,000 megawatt Unit 6 late on Saturday following a technical problem in with the cooling system of the unit’s power generator, its spokesperson said on Sunday………………. more


October 31, 2022 Posted by | Bulgaria, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear project with Russian reactors shakes Bulgarian politics

Nuclear project with Russian reactors shakes Bulgarian politics By Emiliya Milcheva and Krasen Nikolov | 21 Feb 22, Leading figures in the Bulgarian government are looking for a way out of a 40-year project to build a second nuclear power plant near the Danube island of Belene. The Belene project, which is to be implemented with two Russian nuclear reactors, is creating serious political tensions between liberal pro-European ‘Change Continues’ and ‘Democratic Bulgaria’ and the pro-Russian Bulgarian Socialist Party, which are coalition partners. President Rumen Radev has also insisted on a swift decision on the nuclear project.

Currently, Bulgarian energy is dependent on Russia. About 70% of the gas Bulgaria uses is Russian, the nuclear reactors at the Kozloduy power plant are filled with Russian nuclear fuel, nuclear waste is exported to Russia, and the largest oil refinery in the Balkans – near the Bulgarian city of Burgas – is owned by Lukoil.

‘Change Continues’ wants to change that.

Amid the crisis in Ukraine, Prime Minister Kirill Petkov has twice said he will not build the Belene project with two Russian reactors already purchased and delivered.

Using Russian nuclear reactors at Belene also means orders from Bulgaria for the Russian state-owned company Rosatom. Prime Minister Petkov stressed that Bulgaria had nuclear fuel for two years and there is no immediate threat to Bulgaria’s nuclear energy, but energy experts say the country must make a long-term decision

Prime Minister Petkov’s comments immediately provoked a reaction from the Socialist Party. Under pressure from the socialists, Bulgaria will launch a new analysis of the viability of the Belene nuclear project. Belene’s status is also being used by the pro-Russian far-right Vazrazhdane party, which supports Bulgaria’s exit from the EU and NATO.

Last week, a large Bulgarian delegation visited the United States, led by influential Deputy Prime Minister Asen Vassilev. Nuclear energy was one of the main topics discussed, with Bulgaria exploring whether it can use US nuclear fuel at the current Kozloduy power plant instead of Russia’s.

As early as January 2021, the government of Boyko Borissov approved a report supporting the construction of a new nuclear power unit at Kozloduy with a Russian reactor, but American technology. However, for such a hybrid to work, the participation of Rosatom is required. Such a Russian-American partnership now seems impossible.

EURACTIV understands that leading figures in the Bulgarian government are considering the possible benefits of the American small modular reactors or the Westinghouse reactor – AP1000.

Bulgaria has enough time to decide

Martin Vladimirov from the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) told EURACTIV that the Belene project is currently used as a carrot by politicians. Surveys show that 70% of Bulgarians want the Belene project to be built.

Vladimirov says the nuclear project should be talked about economically, not politically. He says that American interests in the export of modular nuclear reactors are visible, as they are trying to launch the technology in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine……………………..

February 22, 2022 Posted by | Bulgaria, politics international | Leave a comment

Belene nuclear plant: Bulgarian far-right leader threatens to send opponents to a labour camp

Belene nuclear plant: Bulgarian far-right leader threatens to send opponents to a labour camp, By Krassen Nikolov | 26 Nov 21,

   Kostadin Kostadinov, leader of the pro-Russian far-right party ‘Vazrazhdane’ (Revival), started his first term as an MP by threatening to deport all those who oppose the Belene nuclear power plant to the town’s communist-era forced labour camp.

The Belene NPP is an unfinished project that dates back to the 1980s. Bulgaria has invested €600 million in it. 26 Nov 2021 ……..

Vazrazhdane’ won just under 5% in the parliamentary elections due to its consistent policy of disparaging the pandemic, resistance to COVID vaccines and green certificates. Now the party is beginning to expand on the energy issue. Vazrazhdane has 13 out of 240 MPs in the new parliament…….

Belene NPP is the last remaining project of the so-called Russian Grand Slam in Bulgaria, which was agreed between the Presidents of Bulgaria and Russia Georgi Parvanov and Vladimir Putin. The others were the South Stream gas pipeline and the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

November 27, 2021 Posted by | Bulgaria, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Bulgaria prosecutes former energy ministers over mismanagement of Belene nuclear power project

Intellinews 13th Feb 2021, Bulgaria’s prosecution has filed charges against former energy ministers Rumen Ovcharov and Petar Dimitrov over mismanagement that led to a loss of around BGN500mn (€250mn) related to the project to build the Belene nuclear power plant, the Anticorruption Fund NGO said in a statement on February 12.

There was no official statement from the prosecution, but the NGO has published a photo of the documents. The accusations against the two former ministers and two former executive directors of the state-owned National Electricity Company (NEC), Mardik Papazyan and Lyubomir Velkov, were raised back in 2016 when the prosecution launched an investigation. It
claims the two former ministers failed to exercise sufficient control over the executive directors of NEK when they allowed them to sign a deal with Atomstroyexport on the nuclear power plant at Belene.

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Bulgaria, Legal | Leave a comment

USA to market nuclear reactor to Bulgaria

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Bulgaria, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

French, American, Russian nuclear companies join forces to build Bulgarian nuclear station

Well, Framatome is really the old AREVA, coming back from bankruptcy.  They’re all in it together, nuclear companies worldwide, conning the taxpayers

Framatome, GE and Rosatom team up for Belene project,
WNN.18 June 2020, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced today it has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with France’s Framatome and GE Steam Power of the USA to participate in a tender to construct the Belene nuclear power plant in Bulgaria.

The MoUs were signed by Kirill Komarov, Rosatom’s first deputy director general of corporate development and international business, Frédéric Lelièvre, Framatome’s senior executive vice president in charge of sales, regional platforms and I&C, and Michael Keroulle, president of GE Steam Power.

As part of the agreements, Rosatom said that if it were to become a strategic investor in the project through a competitive process, GE would be considered as the partner for an Arabelle based turbine-generator set and turbine hall equipment, while Framatome would be considered as the key partner for the instrumentation and control (I&C) systems for the Belene plant.

The Belene project in northern Bulgaria includes construction of two 1000 MWe units, each using the Russian VVER-1000/V-466 design which is a pressurised water reactor with four circulating loops. Preliminary site works began in 2008, and contracts for components including large forgings and I&C systems were signed with suppliers, but the project was stymied by financing problems……….

Rosatom noted that it has already successfully collaborated with Framatome and GE on international projects, including the Paks-II nuclear power plant in Hungary and the Hanhikivi-1 plant in Finland. It said the cooperation with GE is carried out within the framework of the Akkuyu project in Turkey and the El-Dabaa project in Egypt. AAEM, a joint venture between GE and Rosatom subsidiary Atomenergomash, is a supplier of equipment for the turbine island of each plant.

June 20, 2020 Posted by | Bulgaria, business and costs | Leave a comment

Bulgaria delays deadline for Belene nuclear project bids

Bulgaria delays deadline for Belene nuclear project bids,  SOFIA, March 22 (Reuters) – Bulgaria will give more time for shortlisted investors to file binding bids for its Belene nuclear power project after measures over the coronavirus outbreak have limited access to the project’s data room, the energy minister said on Sunday.Russia’s Rosatom, China’s CNNC and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co had to file their offers to invest in the estimated 10 billion euro ($10.7 billion) project by the end of April.

French energy company EDF’s Framatome and U.S. group General Electric, which had both offered to provide equipment for the 2,000 megawatt project and arrange financing, will also be part of the process.

“At the moment we cannot provide access to the data room for the project. So we would have to extend the deadline for filing bids until we can grant such access,” Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said. “It would mean a delay of a month, month and a half.”

She added that all shortlisted bidders remain interested.

Sofia has revived the Belene project to make use of two nuclear reactors it bought for more than 620 million euros from Rosatom in compensation for scrapping the original project in 2012. It plans to have the project operational in 10 years. ($1 = 0.9351 euros) (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova Editing by David Goodman)

March 23, 2020 Posted by | Bulgaria, politics | Leave a comment

Russia keen to have Bulgaria go into debt to Russia, to implement Belne nuclear station

Russia Ready To Take Part in Bulgaria’s Belene Nuclear Power Plant, Medvedev Says,  Moscow Times 

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Bulgaria, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Bulgaria’s planned nuclear power station unlikely to ever be built

The Plan to Build a Nuclear Future From a Communist Relic, In the poorest corner of the European Union, political leaders are looking for a savior with 10 billion euros to spare. Bloomberg By James M Gomez,  Elizabeth Konstantinova, and Slav Okov, December 14, 2018,

On the edge of a small Bulgarian town on the southern bank of the Danube River lies a relic from communism with eerie echoes of one of the Soviet era’s most infamous places.

Empty apartment buildings squat on the snow like forgotten boxes. Windows are broken, facades are crumbling and weeds flourish where gardens were meant to blossom. It looks like the ghost town at the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear site 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) north.

Except the crucial difference is that the one at Belene in Bulgaria was never occupied, save for the occasional squatter. The buildings were erected in the 1980s by the government to house workers at a planned facility. But the project was scrapped, revived and scrapped again during the eastern bloc’s transition from communism to capitalism.

Now, in the heart of the European Union’s poorest corner, Bulgaria plans to get the nuclear plant off the ground for real. Facing a dilemma that’s familiar across the continent, the government says the nation can’t keep up with demand for electricity any other way.

It will solicit bids from investors early next year to build a 2,000 megawatt plant at a capped cost of 10 billion euros ($11.4 billion). The land, empty apartment blocks, already prepped foundations and two unused Russian-made reactors will be thrown in as incentives.

Like with nuclear projects everywhere, there’s opposition and—given Bulgaria’s track record—plenty of skepticism as the government makes its case with promises that the effort won’t break state coffers or saddle taxpayers with the bill.

It’s a hard sell. Governments, builders and investors across Europe are shying away from the high cost of nuclear construction and turning toward renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. The consensus of local residents, industry analysts, economists and even some lawmakers is that it won’t work. And if it does, it will be for the benefit of Russia trying to wield influence in Bulgaria.

“It’s a complete mess,” said Krassen Stanchev, head of the KC2 consultancy in Sofia, an associate professor at the Sofia University and a long-time critic of the process. “This project will never fly.”

The Center for the Study of Democracy based in the Bulgarian capital reckons there’s no need for new capacity for almost another three decades and the plant would generate losses of 4.5 billion euros by 2050.

“The main reason not to build this plant is that it will be extremely costly and it can’t offer competitive prices,” said Martin Vladimirov, an energy analyst at the center. “At some point it will turn into a stranded asset, it will turn into a zombie plant without any real role in the electricity system.”

……..Behind a kilometers-long barbed wire fence outside Belene, the proposed plant site boasts a handful of buildings and careworn warehouses. Inside them are grey wooden crates stuffed with equipment meant to secure the reactors to the foundations and connect them to the system. There is also a water treatment facility ready to go online, a spur of railway track and a concrete plant ready to pour.

The only sign of the foundations is a flat, sunken section of ground larger than a football field and surrounded by 15-story cranes that haven’t been used since the 1990s.

The reactors, bought from Rosatom in the last attempt to get the project going, are each rated at 1,000 megawatts—about the same output as Chernobyl reactors. They sit in a field boxed up against the elements.

Though the Bulgarian government is sticking to its cost estimate, most analysts say cost overruns are typical in the industry. Because of that and the strict conditions that free Bulgaria from any financial responsibility, the number of prospective investors may be limited to Russian and Asian companies. China National Nuclear Corp. and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. have both expressed interest.

“The Bulgarian government doesn’t want to provide those price guarantees and unfortunately you need that to underpin the nuclear development,” said Elchin Mammadov, an energy analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, who says he is bearish on new projects. “It’s too risky and too expensive for a private company to fund it.”…………………

December 15, 2018 Posted by | Bulgaria, politics | Leave a comment

Bulgaria’s Belene Nuclear Power Plant project unlikely to ever be built, now needs EU approval

Belene nuclear power plant will need new EU approval, Emerging Europe, November 23, 2018, Yoan Stanev 

The European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, has said that the commission’s approval for the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project – given more than a decade ago – is no longer valid. As such, Belene must be treated as a new project and must undergo a new assessment by the commission. Mr Cañete was responding to a question raised by a Bulgarian member of the European Parliament, Svetoslav Malinov, of Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria, part of the European People’s Party……..

“In practice, any new investors will have to agree to a project that is not currently approved by the European Commission and will still have to be assessed according to [now more] stringent European criteria after Fukushima,” said Mr Malinov, who added: “no investor will agree to this.”

Belene nuclear power plant will never be built, but it still offers the opportunity to steal money from Bulgarian taxpayers. Belene is dead. Why does GERB [Bulgaria’s ruling party] refuse to bury it?” said Mr Malinov.

The Bulgarian government has not yet responded to the commission’s statement and the energy ministry is still looking for strategic investors for the project and plans to make an announcement by the end of 2018.

November 24, 2018 Posted by | Bulgaria, politics | Leave a comment

Dangerous Levels of Radiation in a Bay near Bulgarian Resort Chernomorets July 6, 2018, 

A new warning for dangerous levels of radiation in the Vromos Bay near Chernomorets was issued by the health authorities. In Bulgarian and English, a new plate warns that the sandy strip is dangerous, a BBC report showed.

Radiation contamination is high – in individual areas up to 50 times the norm. However, access to the beach is not prohibited, the risk of using it is the responsibility of the people on holiday.

Ore mined decades ago from the nearby Rosen mine were high in uranium. Part of the waste water is discharged into the bay.

“The difference in the content of radionuclides in the sand and in the soil along the sand strip in relation to this terrain compared to the other terrains we are exploring all along the Black Sea is here between 5 and 50 times.” The life of these radioisotope elements until decay is considerable, it exceeds 90-100 years, “explained Verginia Tsanova – Deputy Director, RZI – Burgas.

The effect of staying for a long time on the sand is not immediate, but it can be seen in years, warn health authorities. Small children also risk swallowing sand.

“It has a carcinogenic effect, and it leads to genetic mutations in the genital cells, from there to the offspring, which is extremely dangerous for young people and for pregnant women,” Tsanova added.

Verginia Tsanova stressed that there is no way to ban the use of the beach. “It’s people’s choice, we just have to warn them,” she said.

The beach is without a concessionaire and is preferred by families with children.

Source: Dnevnik

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Bulgaria, environment | Leave a comment

Russian-designed nuclear power plant causes tension in Bulgaria


June 9, 2018 Posted by | Bulgaria, politics | Leave a comment

Russia, France, China compete to develop nuclear power station in Bulgaria

Bulgaria Moves To Revive Russian Nuclear Project Suspended In 2012

The Bulgarian parliament has approved a plan to revive the Belene nuclear power plant five years after the Russian project was suspended due to financing problems and concerns about relying too heavily on Russian energy.

The parliament on June 7 approved by 172 to 14 Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s proposal to develop a plan to resume construction of the plant on the Danube River by the end of October.

Bulgaria had already spent around $1.8 billion on the plant when the government in 2012 put a moratorium on further workunder pressure from the United States and European Union to limit its energy dependence on Russia.

Bulgaria also suspended the joint project with Russian company Atomstroyexport because it failed to find any foreign investors prepared to shoulder its spiralling costs, estimated at about $11.8 billion in total.

The suspension angered Russia, which had hoped to use Belene as an EU showcase for its new generation of pressurized water reactors.

Sofia had to pay more than 620 million euros to Russia’s Rosatom for scrapping the project, but it also received nuclear parts for two 1,000 megawatt reactors, which were conserved and maintained.

Last week, Energy Minister Temenujka Petkova said that a campaign to pick a strategic investor for the project would be launched by the end of 2018.

Russia’s Rosatom has said it will make another bid to complete the project. Also in the running are Chinese state nuclear company CNNC and France’s Framatome, which is majority controlled by EDF.

Petkova said the government does not want to commit more public funds, extend state guarantees for any loan, or sign any long-term electricity supply deals to make the project viable.

Vadim Titov, director of Rosatom Central Europe, told a Bulgarian energy conference on June 7 that the Russian company is ready to start talks with the Bulgarian authorities on reviving the project.

The Belene plant’s two 1,000 megawatt reactors were intended to replace four old Soviet-built units that were shut down more than a decade ago amid security concerns at the only existing nuclear plant in Bulgaria, at Kozloduy.

There are still two Soviet-built operational reactors at Kozloduy, dating back to 1987 and 1991, which provide about 30 percent of the country’s electricity.

Dozens of Bulgarians protested outside parliament against the government’s plans for Belene on June 7, saying the project’s benefits were not enough to justify its costs and contending that it has been a source of corrupt practices for decades.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Bulgaria, marketing | Leave a comment

Bulgaria’s struggle to find the money for building Belene nuclear power project

Reuters 12th May 2018 , Bulgaria’s government will ask parliament to give it the authority to
negotiate with investors to build the Belene nuclear power project on the
Danube River, the prime minister said on Saturday.

The Black Sea state initially canceled the project, estimated to cost about 10 billion euros,
in 2012 after failing to find foreign investors and bowing to U.S. and
European Union pressure to limit the country’s energy dependence on
Russia, which would have supplied some equipment.

The current government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, however, is renewing the search for private
investors to build the plant after an arbitration court ruled in 2016 that
Bulgaria must pay more than 600 million euros ($717 million) in
compensation to Russian state nuclear company Rosatom due to the

May 16, 2018 Posted by | Bulgaria, business and costs, politics | Leave a comment

Bulgaria trying to get private investors for its nuclear project

Bulgaria Seeks Private Investors for Nuclear Project, US News,  May 11, 2017, SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria is seeking private investors to build a nuclear power plant on the Danube River, which was canceled five years ago, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

Sofia canceled the Belene project in 2012 after failing to find foreign investors and under pressure from Brussels and Washington to limit its energy dependence on Russia………It hopes to privatize the nuclear plant project after it paid more than 600 million euros ($652 million) in compensation to Russia’s state nuclear giant Rosatom when it canceled the 10 billion euro project. Rosatom had agreed to provide the nuclear reactors…….

May 12, 2017 Posted by | Bulgaria, business and costs | Leave a comment