ON THE NECESSITY OF PROVIDING CONDITIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF BULGARIAN NUCLEAR ENERGY
The Bulgarian nuclear program has a long and successful history. It includes activities concerning all elements of the life cycle of nuclear power plants. Over the past 40 years, Kozloduy NPP has been providing more than a third of the country’s total electricity generation in a reliable and highly efficient way, without affecting the climate and the environment.
The Bulgarian Atomic Forum Association (BULATOM) believes that preserving the key role of the nuclear energy in our country is necessary for the security and sovereignty of the country today and in the future. We welcome the current plans for the development of the Bulgarian electricity generation sector foresee the doubling of the share of electricity produced by nuclear power plants in the period until 2040.
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 decarbonization target by 2050. Such a policy is also in line with the expectations of the prevailing part of the Bulgarian society: all representative sociological surveys and significant public initiatives in recent decades show significant support for the development of nuclear energy in the country.
There are currently two approved sites for the construction of new nuclear facilities in Bulgaria. BULATOM believes that the adequate development of the country’s nuclear generating capacity requires the utilization of both sites. The long-term energy security of the country is guaranteed only by the simultaneous implementation of both projects developed on these sites in the period until 2040. Stable production of zeroemission basic electricity can be ensured only in this way, facilitating the parallel implementation of projects related to decarbonization. Such a goal requires immediate decisions to provide the necessary conditions for its achievement.
Due to the long lifecycle (almost a century) and the complex requirements, limitations, and challenges to the successful construction of the NPP, incl. concentration of the necessary financial, administrative, organizational, and human resources, knowledge and experience, the Bulgarian nuclear industry considers it urgent to develop and adopt as soon as possible:
A POLICY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF BULGARIA’S NUCLEAR ENERGY
The policy should determine the place of nuclear energy in ensuring the country’s energy security, to determine the priorities, deadlines, and stages of construction of the necessary capacity in a way that security is maintained during the period of accelerated transition to achieving the goals of decarbonization of the economy by 2050.
The adoption of a policy for the sustainable development of nuclear energy will allow the development of relevant institutional and sectoral policies in the most effective way possible so that the achievement of its goals is supported by all institutions and thus provide the conditions for long-term supply of the country with reliable, low-carbon, baseline electricity at predictable cost.
The adoption of a unified and sustainable national policy:
- Will create preconditions for reaching a national consensus, interest and prospects for long-term realization of the necessary specialists, perspective and predictable environment for development of the industries supporting the nuclear energy, conditions for attracting the necessary capital and investments in the country’s economy, for synchronizing the related long-term strategies, including the management of the nuclear fuel cycle and radioactive waste, as well as for timely implementation of the procedures foreseen under the Art. 45 of the Act for Safe Use of the Nuclear Energy.
- Will create conditions for proactive development of the national infrastructure (including administrative, regulatory, and engineering capacity) toward implementation of the incoming fourth generation technologies, creating conditions for future expanded entry of small modular reactors, and thus preserve the key importance of nuclear energy with the expected critical increase in Europe-wide electricity demand in the period 2030 – 2050 and beyond.
- Will provide the basis for the formation and statement of a national position to be presented by the state institutions participating in the forthcoming discussion of the plans regarding the future conditions for the development of nuclear energy in the European Union.
BULATOM expects this policy to be developed by the Ministry of Energy in cooperation with the nuclear industry, to be adopted by the Council of Ministers and subsequently confirmed by a decision of the National Assembly as a key part of the country’s Energy Strategy.
As the main non-governmental organization representing the interests of the Bulgarian nuclear industry, BULATOM will continue to work towards creating conditions for the sustainable development of nuclear energy – a key element in ensuring national energy security in the long run. BULATOM expresses its readiness to participate in the preparation of the described policy by engaging the expert capacity of its members.