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Series of expert discussions on nuclear energy for sustainable development of Bulgaria

Participation in the event

To participate in the discussions you need to register by filling in a short form. You must register separately for each discussion. Below each summary of the discussion series you will find buttons that will direct you to the registration form. 

Discussions will take place in ZOOM – entirely online. Once you register you will receive a confirmation email from ZOOM. In the same email is the link to access the live link. You will receive a reminder email 1 week, 1 day and 1 hour before each discussion starts. 
The official language of the event is Bulgarian. There will be simultaneous translation from/into English throughout. Each participant will be able to choose in which language they prefer to listen to the speakers. 

How to listen to language translation

In the online discussion controls, click Interpretation with your mouse on your computer.
Click on the language you want to hear. To hear only the translated language, click Mute Original Audio.

Choose the discussion you want to participate in and reserve your seat now!

Nuclear Energy in Bulgaria – National Priority and Geopolitics

Thursday, 02.06.2022, 15:00-17:00 Bulgarian time (GMT+3)
The Bulgarian nuclear program has a long and successful history. It includes activities concerning all elements of the life cycle of nuclear power plants. In the last 40 years, Kozloduy NPP has provided more than one-third of the country’s total electricity generation in a reliable and highly efficient way, with minimal impact on the climate and the environment. Preserving the key importance of nuclear power in our country is necessary for the security and sovereignty of the country today and in the future. Such a policy is in line with EU policies: the plans of more than half of the Member States include nuclear energy on a par with renewable energy to achieve the 2050 decarbonization target. Only through the construction of new nuclear capacities in the country can a stable production of low-carbon baseload electricity be ensured, facilitating the parallel implementation of projects related to the decarbonization of the economy – such as the deployment of an increasingly significant share of unmanaged renewables and the decommissioning of capacities with significant greenhouse gas emissions.

“When and with whom? where and how? and for how much?” should a new NPP be built is a complex set of questions requiring expert techno-economic analysis. Such a decision, structurally decisive for the energy sector – and hence for the competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy – for decades to come, should be duly argued and widely discussed and validated. This format aims to contribute to the public debate on the topic through discussion with leading Bulgarian and foreign experts.
The discussion will address issues such as:
  • What is the place of nuclear energy in securing Bulgaria’s energy security, today and in the long term?
  • Decarbonization of the economy, securing the regional deficit of affordable electricity, supporting “new entrants” to the nuclear club of European countries – how does nuclear energy create strategic opportunities for Bulgaria through these aspects?
  • Choosing a technology partner – what is the right balance between technology and geopolitics?
Moderators of the discussion:
  • Yanko Yanev (NKMI, VINCC)
  • Slavcho Neykov (Energy Management Institute)
Panelists:
  • Representatives of national and international organizations relevant to nuclear energy: Bogomil Manchev (BULATOM), King Lee (WNA), Abel Gonzales (UNSCEAR)
  • Representatives of the academic community: Holger Rogner (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), Attila Azzodi (University of Budapest), Atanas Semov (SU)

The place of nuclear energy in the country’s energy security

Thursday, 09.06.2022, 15:00-17:00 Bulgarian time (GMT+3)
Currently, nuclear power in Bulgaria provides over 1/3 of the country’s total electricity and over 2/3 of its low carbon generation. The implementation of the plans for decarbonization of electricity generation requires an increase in the share of nuclear power, which should reach 45% and 60% (in 2035 and 2040 respectively) of total net electricity generation.
To this end, the country’s electricity sector development plans agreed with the EC and all strategic development programs foresee that by 2040 the country will have 4,000 MW of nuclear capacity to provide the necessary baseload generation and the conditions for the implementation of other projects related to the decarbonization of the electricity sector. The confirmed technical lifetime of Kozloduy NPP Units 5 and 6 is up to 2047 and 2051 respectively, provided that their operating license is successfully renewed every ten years. During this period, the construction of replacement capacity should also be ensured so that the 4000 MW of nuclear capacity with a lifetime available up to and beyond 2100 is secured in the long term.
This brings us to the question: what is the place of nuclear power in the generation mix in terms of long-term energy security and the conditions for a low-carbon energy transformation?

The discussion will address questions such as:
  • What scenarios meet the main requirements for developing the electricity system today – energy security and decarbonization?
  • Is an equitable affordable energy transition possible and how to reduce its impact on the industry and the consumer?
  • What is the place of nuclear power in the long-term generation mix?
  • Are there national scenarios for delivering an affordable and competitive low-carbon electricity mix without nuclear?
Discussion moderators:
  • Yanko Yanev (VINCC, NKMI)
  • Stanislav Georgiev (Bulatom)
Panelists:
  • Representatives of the state energy sector: Slavyan Lachev (BEH), Ventsislav Zahov (ESO)
  • Representatives of large electricity consumers: Ivaylo Naydenov, Rumen Radev (Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association)
  • Experts with long experience in the nuclear industry: Milko Kovachev (IAEA), Sabin Sabinov (Selmeda Ltd)

Infrastructure for nuclear energy development

Thursday, 16.06.2022, 15:00-17:00 Bulgarian time (GMT+3)
In the context of nuclear power, the term infrastructure is used broadly, as much more than a specific physical infrastructure is required for the successful implementation of a nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency provides a specific definition of the term, consisting of 19 elements including legal and regulatory framework, human resource development, industrial base, spent fuel, and radioactive waste management funds. For the purposes of this discussion, the infrastructure for nuclear energy development is summarised in three strands – the legal framework, the technical infrastructure, and human resources.
In the nearly 60 years since the start of the nuclear program in this country, the infrastructure has been very well developed. Bulgaria has the necessary infrastructure to develop its nuclear program in the future. This is a significant competitive advantage as far as the construction of new nuclear units is concerned. In many countries with a clear declared desire to develop nuclear power, it is precisely the lack of an established infrastructure that creates the need for many years of preparatory work before a specific project is structured, let alone built. This being the case, the construction of new nuclear capacity in this country is a large enough undertaking that it requires a critical review of the national infrastructure and its readiness.

The discussion will address issues such as:
  • What are the legal and regulatory prerequisites and requirements for the development of nuclear energy at the international and local levels?
  • The current state of the educational system responsible for the training of personnel for the nuclear power industry – what are the opportunities for meeting the needs of personnel related to the operation of the existing units 5 and 6 of Kozloduy NPP and the construction of new nuclear power facilities in Bulgaria?
  • What is the state of the industry supporting our nuclear program – i.e. organizations working in the design, repair/construction, commissioning, and decommissioning of nuclear facilities?
  • To what extent could the Bulgarian industry participate in the production of equipment for new nuclear power plants in Bulgaria?
Moderators of the discussion:
  • Milko Kovatchev (IAEA)
  • Veselina Rangelova (NEA)
Panelists:
  • Tsanko Bachiiski (Chairman, Nuclear Regulatory Agency)
  • Representatives of industrial organizations: Bogomil Manchev (BULATOM), Yanko Yanev (VINCC, NKMI)
  • Representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science and specialized universities: Marieta Georgieva (Deputy Minister of Education and Science), Galina Drenovska (Ministry of Education and Science), Kalin Filipov (Technical University – Sofia) 
  • Energy experts from the academic community: Borislav Boev (Dimitar A. Tsenov Academy of Economics – Svishtov)

Financing new nuclear power plants in Bulgaria

Thursday, 23.06.2022, 15:00-17:00 Bulgarian time (GMT+3)
Generation III/III+ nuclear power plants are large-scale infrastructure investments with a 100-year life cycle. They are characterized by high capital costs (about 80% of a project’s life-cycle costs are invested at the time of commissioning), long construction periods (5-10 years between “first concrete” and commercial operation), and relatively low and stable operating costs. Consequently, the investment in a new nuclear power plant pays for itself over a relatively long period into the future. Combined with the long time period between the investment of funds and the first revenues from the project, this makes the construction of nuclear power plants too risky an undertaking to be subject to traditional private project financing. Therefore, there is no nuclear (or other large infrastructure) project in the world without some form of return guarantee.
At the same time, there has recently been a growing recognition of specific characteristics of nuclear power that are relevant to the criteria for socially responsible investment (ESG): it emits the least greenhouse gases, uses the least materials, has the least impact on public health and generates the least amount of waste over its life cycle per unit of electricity produced. Considered in this way, nuclear power plants are one of the technologies important for sustainable development. Their role in ensuring energy security has long been recognised.
This brings us to the problem: how to secure financing for a cost-effective technology contributing to sustainable development and energy security, highly subject to price, construction, and political risk?

The discussion will address questions such as:
  • What actions could the Bulgarian state take to minimize political risk and attract outside investors for a new nuclear project in the country?
  • What role does the ownership structure, the owner’s capacity, the level of planning, and the chosen technology play in securing financing for a new nuclear project?
  • What are the applicable mechanisms to mitigate the price risk of a new nuclear project in the country?
  • What are the potential funding sources and achievable financing parameters for the construction of new nuclear capacity in Bulgaria?
Discussion moderators:
  • Milko Kovatchev (IAEA)
  • Petar Manchev (Bulatom)
Panelists:
  • Economists and lawyers with experience in nuclear projects: Julian Zhelyazkov (Global Energy Partners), George Borovas (Hunter Andrews Kurth LLP), Elina Teplinsky (Pillsbury Law).
  • Representatives from international industry organization: Berta Picamal (NuclearEurope), Michel Berthelemy (NEA), Aleshia Duncan (DOE/IFNEC)