In accordance with the Bulgarian and European legislation, for the construction of a nuclear power plant, it is necessary to develop an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Feasibility Study. Development of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and a separate report for the technical and economic feasibility of the construction of a nuclear power plant at the Belene site in Bulgaria is ordered by NEK in October 2003.
The Environmental Impact Assessment is performed by a team of certified specialists. The study covers seven reactor technologies, namely: Westinghouse – USA, Russian Atomstroyexport, Canadian Candu, Czech Skoda, Areva from France. The proposed designs for reactors are as follows:
- AECL 676-728 MWe CANDU-6;
- ASE 606-645 MWe WWER/640 B-407;
- ASE 1068 MWe WWER-1000/B-466;
- Framatome 1545 MWe ANP EPR;
- Framatome ANP 1000 MWe SWR;
- Skoda 1000MWe WWER-1000/B-320;
- Westinghouse 1117 - 1500 MWe AP-1000.
The impact on the environment has been assessed considering the most unfavorable characteristics of the selected technologies. The Report has been developed in accordance with the requirements of the normative documents and has been a subject of four public hearings in Bulgaria and a public discussion in Romania (Turnu Magurele). A positive statement on the Report was presented by the Ministry of Environment and Water in November 2004. This statement is one of the prerequisites, which allow for the Government to make “on-principle” decision for the construction of a nuclear power plant.
Another prerequisite for a decision “on-principle” is to develop a technical and socio-economic analysis of the project. The study, as well as the Environmental Impact Assessment, covers the seven reactor technologies mentioned above. The purpose is to perform a review, evaluation and updating of previous studies and prognoses, as well as to determine the necessity of electrical production facilities in Bulgaria, the type of reactor technology, which shall be used and the suitability of the Belene site for additional capacity. The report was ready in 2004, and in compliance with the requirements of the Bulgarian Act on the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy, it was a subject of public discussion. Having successfully passed this procedure, the Feasibility Study has been presented to the Council of Ministers for making decision “on principle” for the construction of a nuclear power plant at the Belene site with two 1,000-MW units.