With the opening of a Dry Spent Fuel Storage Facility the efforts to decommission the Kozloduy nuclear power plant in northern Bulgaria have passed a milestone. The decommissioning is funded by the international community through the EBRD-managed Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund.
The new facility will provide storage for more than 6,000 spent nuclear fuel assemblies and was completed in 7 years and at a cost of €71.0 million by a consortium formed by NUKEM Technologies GmbH and GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service mbH. The building was handed over to the Bulgarian authorities on Thursday.
Under the decommissioning agreement for Kozloduy spent nuclear fuel assemblies fall under the responsibility of the operator of the plant.
Vince Novak, Director of the EBRD Nuclear Safety Department, said: “The completion is an important step forward in our decommissioning programme. It is the result of the close cooperation between the contractor, the operator and the authorities.”
The spent fuel assemblies stored in the new facility have only been in operation for three years and are still highly radioactive. Therefore they have to be stored in a controlled environment for at least 50 years. The assemblies are also still generating heat. The construction of the storage guarantees their permanent cooling through natural ventilation.
Spent nuclear fuel assemblies are stored in storage casks within the facility. The storage has 34 storage casks at this stage, each of them for the storage of 84 fuel assemblies.
The Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund was established in 2001 and is managed by the EBRD. Donors to the fund are the European Commission, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The fund supports Bulgaria with the decommissioning of the closed reactor units 1-4 and in efforts to enhance the country’s energy efficiency and security.
The international donor community to-date has provided €850 million to the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund.