Bulgaria’s nuclear power plant at Kozloduy was built according to Soviet design with six VVER type-reactors. The Western European Nuclear Regulatory Association, and other experts, concluded that units 1-4 (VVER 440-230) could not reach acceptable safety levels. The deficiencies concerned the original design of the reactors and the limited function of their confinement systems.
In view of Bulgaria's accession to the European Union, the Bulgarian government agreed to close down Kozloduy nuclear power plant (units 1-4). Units 1 and 2 were shut down in 2002 and units 3 and 4 in 2006.
The European Commission and other European donors offered the Bulgarian government an assistance programme to cope with the early closure and decommissioning of the four units and the consequential measures in the energy sector. In June 2001, the KIDSF was established at the EBRD.
The Fund operates in Bulgaria on the basis of a Framework Agreement between the EBRD and the Bulgarian government and ratified by the Bulgarian Parliament. More than €700 million has been contributed largely by the European Commission as well as by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The Kozloduy IDSF finances and co-finances selected projects for two main purposes:
- to support the decommissioning of units 1-4 of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant, particularly through the provision of facilities for the treatment and storage of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste
- to address issues in the energy sector related to the closure of units 1-4 by demonstrating ways to reform and modernise both the supply and demand side of energy use in Bulgaria.
The KIDSF provides grant financing for facilities designed to provide interim storage of the spent fuel and management of the generated radioactive waste.
A key facility required for the safe decommissioning of Kozloduy NPP units 1 to 4, and funded by KIDSF, is the interim spent nuclear fuel storage facility, completed in 2014. In January 2016 it received its operations licence and will accommodate the spent fuel from the decommissioned reactors for a period of over 50 years.
Other KIDSF funded projects provide the necessary infrastructure and equipment for the handling transport and storage of radioactive waste generated during the decommissioning process, such as facilities for the reduction of waste volumes as well as laboratory and free release equipment.
KIDSF also supports SERAW, the Bulgarian organisation in charge of decommissioning Kozloduy units 1 to 4, in constructing a near surface repository close to the Kozloduy site for radioactive waste from the decommissioning process. The planning phase including site selection, hydrological and geological assessments, environmental impact assessments, design and site infrastructure preparation is largely complete and a construction permit is expected in late 2016.
Energy sector projects
The KIDSF funded and co-funded energy efficiency measures in line with the National Energy Strategy. The programme includes:
- Rehabilitation of the district heating network in Sofia and Plovdiv.
- New electricity meters in private households.
- Energy efficiency improvements in public buildings.
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy credit line facilities for residential and industrial sectors.
- Environmental and energy efficiency improvements at Maritza mines and the coal fired Maritza East power plant.
Improvements in gas and electricity distribution networks.
Measures in the energy sector have significantly compensated for the loss of operating capacity and reduced emissions. An assessment of the overall results will be completed in 2016.
The KIDSF will not be used for any further energy sector projects.