Nuclear energy is experiencing its renaissance at the international level

Bogomil Manchev, Chairman of the Board of the Bulgarian Atomic Forum (BULATOM), for the Annual Almanac of the Bulgarian energy sector Energy Info BG

First among the achievements of 2023, I would place the declaration of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28). The call for a three-fold increase in installed nuclear power in the world by 2050 is a kind of culmination of strengthening the role of nuclear power as a key element in the fight against climate change. I am glad to note that Bulgaria was one of the first countries to support the declaration.

Secondly, I would note the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and the inflamed conflict between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas, which are still defining for political life around the world and in our country. The war in the east of us created risks for the normal operation of Units 5 and 6 at Kozloduy NPP, questioning the reliable supply of the plant with certain equipment and services. Colleagues from the plant had to look for alternative supplies for many types of equipment and spare parts. It is an honor to them that they have already done two years with this task and the blocks work without problems, for which we all congratulate them. The war also accelerated the process of diversification of the supply of fresh nuclear fuel to Kozloduy NPP. I remind you that in December 2022, contracts were signed with Westinghouse and Framatom for the supply of fuel to Units 5 and 6 respectively. This year, the plant should partially refuel the zone of Unit 5 with fresh fuel produced by Westinghouse.

For the third consecutive year, we have developed and provided to all our members and all institutions in Bulgaria a “Report on the dynamics of change in the main indicators in a database of BulAtom on the main characteristics of the electricity sector by 2023”. The development is valuable because it provides a comprehensive picture of the development of Bulgaria’s electricity sector with accumulation for three consecutive years.

The development of nuclear energy will be a priority for more and more countries

At the international level, nuclear energy is experiencing its renaissance. The above-mentioned decision of the leading countries in this sector is a sign that means only one thing – more and more countries in the world will give priority to the development of nuclear energy. More and more countries – Japan, the USA, Russia, France, devote financial resources to the development of technologies related to thermonuclear fusion, and certainly the successes achieved in this direction are increasingly encouraging.

In the country, the trend outlined by the last caretaker government of Bulgaria, with priority given to the development of nuclear energy, was in its own way continued by the current government. The Ministry of Energy published its draft Strategy for Sustainable Energy Development of the Republic of Bulgaria until 2050. In it, the implementation of the 7 and 8 units project at the Kozloduy site is unequivocally stipulated. At the same time, a vision for the utilization of the Belene site is insufficiently developed. BulАtom’s opinion on this issue has been expressed many times, and it is a search for an opportunity to implement project “Belene” 1 and 2 with the participation of Western partners.

On time, the planned plan for the construction of units 7 and 8 with Westinghouse as main partner is carried out. Certain financial resources necessary for the development of the project by the government to the company Kozloduy NPP – New Build have been provided.

We continue to lobby for new nuclear power plants in our country

The main activity of BulAtom – lobbying for the development of nuclear energy in Bulgaria will continue as before. This will be realized consistently by making contacts at every possible level with all interested institutions in our country for the development of nuclear energy and providing our expertise, lobbying for the timely implementation of the two projects – Kozloduy NPP – Units 7 and 8, and Belene NPP – Units 1 and 2 with the aim of their personality by 2050, as well as providing assistance through our members in the implementation of the above projects. We will also continue to hold our events – the Traditional conference of the Association, which will be held from 5 to 7 June 2024, etc.

Source: Energy Info BG 2024