Belene NPP Is Key to the Entire Southeastern European Region

In order for nuclear energy specialists to exist the lifetime of Units 5 and 6 must be extended or to develop new projects.

Belene NPP is a long-term base project, which, if implemented, will work for at least 60 years. The project has its place in the Bulgarian economy and in Southeastern Europe, because it will ensure electricity generated at low and predictable prices for the industry as well as for end users. Energy from a second nuclear power plant will be traded on the free market, said the Executive Director of Risk Engineering Ltd. and Chairman of the Bulgarian Atomic Forum (Bulatom) Bogomil Manchev, Ph.D. in front of the participants in the international conference Bulgarian Nuclear Energy - national, regional and global energy security, held in the period June 5- 7 at Riviera resort near Varna. In addition to renowned local and foreign nuclear specialists, ambassadors of the Czech Republic, France, Vietnam, Russia, South Africa in Bulgaria were present at the forum.

According to Manchev heavy industry in Bulgaria needs a 10-year forecast of electricity price fluctuations. In case of output growth and revival of the economy 2 000 – 3 000 MW of new capacity will be needed. This will be true regardless of the fact that in early June electricity consumption and export remained at extremely low levels, explained Manchev. He highlighted that nuclear energy is beginning to play an increasingly more significant role in the energy mix worldwide, which mix sets prices for end users. Experts pointed out that neighboring countries are also turning to construction of new nuclear facilities. The most conspicuous example in this regard is Turkey, which is planning to build three nuclear power plants.

Lack of regulation
At present the base energy in Bulgaria is not well-balanced despite the current overproduction and the drop in exports. The age of base capacities averages 45 years and, even if they are upgraded, it will be hard to operate them, warned Manchev. He added that the construction of facilities generating electricity from renewable energy sources (RES) in recent years are blunders – large-scale facilities are commissioned producing highly expensive electricity.

According to Manchev investment process in the country has not been regulated. For two years, Bulgaria overachieved the 16% share target of renewable energy in the final energy consumption by 2020, however, it will cost money to the Energy System Operator, the State and end users, summarized the Executive Director of Risk Engineering Ltd.

New nuclear capacity
“Balance can be achieved by building a new nuclear power plant: Unit 7 at Kozloduy NPP and/or Belene NPP”. Manchev reminded that the two projects are not mutually exclusive and should not be evaluated as rivals. He pointed out that Belene NPP project has 90% readiness should the government decide to go with it after considering all the documents and analyses. Investors have currently expressed their interest in the project, however, they need political stability.

Until now Russian and American companies have shown willingness to invest in the construction of Belene NPP. About a year ago there were even talks for RWE (Germany) returning to the project. The estimated cost of the project, according to the Russian corporation Rosatom, approximates €6.3 billion, reminded experts at the forum.

The Executive Director of Risk Engineering Ltd. underlined the importance of extending the lifetime of Units 5 & 6 at Kozloduy NPP to the Bulgarian energy system and end users. Moreover, it is necessary to continue the modernization of the units so that they are allowed to operate for at least another ten years. At the moment reactor licenses expire in 2017 and 2019, respectively, whereas the plant has already begun preparation for the lifetime extension. This step will allow personnel in nuclear power to be saved, stated Manchev.

Interview with Bogomil Manchev in 24 hours:

All posts