Bulgaria builds nuclear waste depository in Kozloduy

Written by on August 29, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgaria builds nuclear waste depository in Kozloduy

Bulgaria started building a nuclear waste depot on Tuesday. The facility will be located within a 3-kilometer-zone around the six nuclear reactors near the Northern Bulgarian town of Kozloduy. Only two of the reactors are operational.

A total of five companies were commissioned for the first phase of the project. One of their tasks is to decommission reactors 1, 2, 3 and 4, which were shut down before Bulgaria joined the European Union ten years ago.

The nuclear waste depot will have a capacity of some 138,000 cubic metres. It is supposed to accommodate radioactive waste on a long-term basis and will cost more than 70 million Euro.

Bulgaria’s Minister of Energy, Temenuzhka Petkova, was quoted saying, the construction of the depot was “extremely important for the development of nuclear energy in Bulgaria”. The country is in the process of extending operations of reactors no. 5 and 6, beyond their original life span, by decades. Both are 1000 megawatt reactors.

The Nuclear Power Plant of Kozloduy uses cooling water from the Danube river. There is talk about building a seventh reactor there, after a nuclear power project in Belene, located further East along the Danube, was cancelled in 2012. The project had a huge price tag of more than half a billion Euro, which Bulgaria recently paid.

All reactors in Kozloduy are Soviet-built. Reactors 1 and 2, which are not operational anymore, and will be decommissioned step by step, were among the ten most dangerous reactors in the world, according to the United States Department of Energy. In 2010, the state-owned company DP RAO was commissioned to take the reactors apart and store the waste. But the construction of the needed depository started only now.

Nuclear waste is one of the biggest problems of nuclear energy. According to critics in the world of nuclear science, there are no safe waste depositories for materials with half-life periods of hundreds of years.

Bulgaria’s fellow E.U. member country Germany intends to abolish nuclear energy until 2022.

 

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Imanuel Marcus, the founder of foreignersandfriends.com, is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe.