Westinghouse Electric Company has signed a contract with Bulgaria and plans to build two new reactors to increase the clean energy capacity of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant.
The two reactors will provide Bulgaria with 2.3 gigawatts of clean energy. The first reactor is expected to be operational by 2033, and the second reactor is expected to be completed two to three years later, the Associated Press reports. Westinghouse will supply the project with its AP1000 reactor, which is the only Generation III+ nuclear reactor with a fully passive safety system, modular structural design, and the smallest footprint per MWe on the market. It is said to be a furnace.
The contract outlines the provision of engineering, consulting and construction services, as well as the potential manufacturing of key components such as instrumentation control systems and radiation monitoring systems.
Expansion complements Bulgaria’s existing nuclear capacity and provides energy security
According to a report in Bulgarian news agency BTA News, construction of the first unit will cost around $10.5 billion. The country’s energy experts told news sources that it is crucial for Bulgaria to have an independent energy facility that does not rely on solar or wind power for periods when coal-fired power plants are shut down.
Westinghouse is providing engineering services for the existing nuclear module at the Kozlodwy site, which currently generates about a third of the country’s energy.
“We continue to make excellent progress in the front-end engineering and design studies for up to two AP1000 reactors at our Kozloduy facility,” said David Durham, president of Westinghouse Energy Systems. “The Bulgarian nuclear power supply chain has extensive experience and will play a key role in delivering the world’s most advanced and proven AP1000 reactor to our customers.”
Concerns about nuclear power plant expansion and large-scale projects to reach net-zero goal
Westinghouse said it supplies more than half of the world’s nuclear supply base and is contributing to the need to double nuclear power generation by 2050 to meet international emissions targets. According to the Department of Energy, nuclear power currently produces about half of the world’s carbon-free energy.
Large-scale nuclear projects are often met with a degree of skepticism due to the expense and time it takes to build a nuclear power plant. Georgia Power, the U.S. power company that uses Westinghouse reactors at the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant, recently filed a $400 million lawsuit over cost overruns related to its third and fourth reactors currently under construction or in operation. Facing a $13 million lawsuit.
According to BTE, Kozloduy’s expansion plans also have some concerns.
Nevertheless, according to the DOE, nuclear energy production is considered the most reliable energy source. Many countries aim to use nuclear power for domestic energy security. Bulgaria has been working to stop its energy dependence on Russia, especially since the invasion of Ukraine.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said the new reactor could provide more stable control of the country’s energy system.