US Westinghouse has said it plans to wrap up investment and budget talks on the new unit of Bulgaria’s Kozloduy NPP within months so that construction works can start by 2016.
The project for the construction of a seventh unit at the Kozloduy NPP came to the fore after the center-right GERB government froze the Belene NPP project in the autumn of 2009.
Speaking Thursday at a press conference, Westinghouse representatives announced that the company would rely mostly on local suppliers for the construction of the N-plant unit.
Representatives of the US company said they had estimated that Bulgaria would need new capacity over the next 5-10 years as thermal power plants would be closed, while the renewable energy capacity would prove insufficient.
Westinghouse representatives assured that Bulgaria would profit from the long-term investment in building unit 7 of the Kozloduy NPP, adding that they were to get a license for the functioning of the N-plant unit for 60 years.
During Thursday’s press conference, it was specified that the АР 1000 reactors used a technology allowing storing the spent nuclear fuel at the N-plant.
Elenko Bozhkov, member of Bulgaria’s State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR), was positive that the construction of a new N-plant unit would be affordable and it would produce energy at reasonable prices.
During the meeting, the practice of Westinghouse of hiring local subcontractors was cited as a major advantage, as well as that of buying materials from local producers.
Westinghouse representatives explained that a total of around 2000 people would be hired for the construction of unit 7 of the Kozloduy NPP, including administrative staff and builders. They also informed that the project would create thousands of new jobs because it would involve local suppliers.
Anton Petrov, Chair of the Managing Board of the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), said that the project would give a boost to the cement industry, adding that construction companies, transport companies and cable manufacturers would also benefit from the project.
Tsvetan Simeonov, Chair of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), explained that Westinghouse was famous for its highly transparent operations.
Simeonov claimed that if market principles were really in operation, a larger number of producers would have lower electricity prices.
“Electricity prices in Bulgaria are not the highest in Europe but it is important that they stay low, especially for an economy with a high rate of energy consumption such as ours,” he added.
The price of unit 7 of the Kozloduy NPP was not specified during the press conference.
Elenko Bozhkov from DKEVR said it was unreasonable to expect a price at this stage of implementation of the project but expressed hopes that it would be a favorable price tag.
He said he did not expect the project to be affected by changes in the political environment, as the Belene NPP project had.
During the press conference, it was also specified that the AP 1000 reactor had not yet been granted a license for Europe but the procedure was underway in the UK.