Five companies interested in building new reactors at Bulgaria's Kozloduy NPP
Five companies have shown interest in building two new reactors using Westinghouse Electric's AP1000 technology at Bulgaria's state-owned Kozloduy nuclear power plant (NPP), the special project company Kozloduy NPP-New Build said in a statement. Kozloduy NPP-New Build did not disclose the names of the candidates.
Currently, Kozloduy NPP has only two Soviet-era working units – five and six. The energy ministry said in October last year that it will kick off the procedure to pick a contractor for the design, construction and commissioning of unit seven and will also start the procedure to build unit eight, both using the AP1000 technology.
Expansion of the nuclear power station is intended to ensure Bulgaria’s energy security. The seventh unit is planned to become operational by 2035, while unit eight will be completed at a later stage.
€12bn cost for new reactors
US Westinghouse Electric signed an agreement with Kozloduy NPP’s special project company, Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild, in June 2023, that kicked off the procedure for construction of the first new AP1000 reactor.
The AP1000 reactor is the only operating Generation III+ reactor with fully passive safety systems, modular construction design and has the smallest footprint per MWe on the market. Westinghouse will supply the fuel for the new reactor from its plant in Sweden.
In October, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said the new reactors' total capacity of 2,300 MW will significantly exceed the 1,760 MW capacity of the four older blocks that were closed as part of Bulgaria’s accession to the EU.
Deputy Energy Minister Nikolai Nikolov said in December that Bulgaria will aim to achieve a price of €12bn for the construction of the two new units.
Nikolov said there are three potential companies to carry out the construction works: Bechtel Corporation, Fluor and Hyundai. One of them will be granted a contract as the main constructor of the units but there will be several subcontractors as well.
Bulgaria intends to be the sole investor in the two units, securing the financing through Kozloduy’s own funds and a loan taken by the state.
Independence from Russia
Kozloduy NPP already signed contracts with Westinghouse and Framatome on the delivery of fuel for its two operating reactors back in 2022, replacing Russia, which was until then the sole supplier.
In January, Kozloduy NPP-New Build, a project company owned by Kozloduy NPP, invited companies to express their interest in the construction of new reactors, setting the deadline for submission of documents.
The contracts were signed after the parliament decided that the country must speed up the process of securing an alternative supplier for the power plant, which is currently using fuel delivered by Russian company TVEL.
Russian companies will not be allowed to bid to build the new reactions at Kozloduy NPP.
Previously, Bulgaria planned to build a new nuclear power plant at Belene, using Russian technology, but the project was later scrapped, leading to a costly arbitration for Bulgaria.
Eligible candidates must have experience in the construction of at least two nuclear units, as well as in designing nuclear or turbine island systems, structures and components. They should also have installed equipment for at least two nuclear reactors.
Now the bids have been received, Kozloduy NPP-New Build will carry out pre-qualification of candidates to shortlist them.