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Bulgaria's Only Nuclear Power Plant Switches from Russian to American Nuclear Fuel

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Photo: Bulgaria's Only Nuclear Power Plant Switches from Russian to American Nuclear Fuel. Source: kznpp.org
Photo: Bulgaria's Only Nuclear Power Plant Switches from Russian to American Nuclear Fuel. Source: kznpp.org

The Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, the only one in Bulgaria, has begun a four-year transition to American nuclear fuel produced by Westinghouse. As reported on the plant's official website, this fuel began to be used on 10 June when the plant's fifth reactor, following its overhaul, was brought online and connected to the national power grid.

"As part of the Kozloduy NPP's nuclear fuel supply diversification programme, 43 Westinghouse-produced cartridges were loaded into the reactor of the fifth unit. This marks the beginning of a four-year phased transition of the fifth reactor to RWFA-type nuclear fuel," the plant's management stated.

The American company Westinghouse signed a 10-year contract for the supply of nuclear fuel to the Bulgarian power plant in December 2022. After a thorough safety assessment, the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency issued a licence for the use of the new fuel on 22 April 2024. As reported by Radio Bulgaria, a ceremony for loading the Westinghouse fuel, which will replace the previously used Russian nuclear fuel, took place at the plant on 29 May.

Additionally, Westinghouse plans to construct the sixth and seventh reactors at the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant.

The Kozloduy NPP is located in the northwest of Bulgaria, on the banks of the Danube River. It generates about 34% of the country's electricity. From 2003 to 2006, four VVER-440 type reactors were shut down as a condition for Bulgaria's accession to the EU.

Currently, only the fifth and sixth VVER-1000 type reactors are in operation, with a total capacity of 2 GW. These reactors have undergone renovations, extending their operational life from 30 to 60 years.

It is worth noting that The Gaze reported on an EU statement holding Russia fully responsible for the nuclear safety risks it has created at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).

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