CHRISTMAS EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE BELENE PROJECT
A few days before Christmas the Nuclear Regulatory Agency announced that it had permitted the National Electricity Company (NEC) to choose a ground where a nuclear power plant will be built. The energy company is now able to start examination of the alternatives and based on its studies, the agency is going to approve the construction site.On December 21, the interdepartmental commission at the Ministry of Energy and Energy Resources discussed the technology for construction of the Belene nuclear power plant. Two Russian light water technologies were examined: WWER reactors (such as units 5 and 6 of the Kozlodoui power station and the two reactors of the Czech Temelin plant) and the newer Russian WWER-B320 technology, as well as the heavy water CANDU reactors of the Canadian AECL company. The discussion was based on the technical and economic analysis made by Parsons, the NEC consultant. According to the document which the BANKER weekly has at its disposal, the offer submitted by Atomstroyexport for two new WWER 1000/B-466 reactors has the lowest price. The value of an installed kilowatt in this offer is EUR1,364, while the price of the construction of two units with nominal installed capacity of 1,986 megawatts is EUR2.729BN. (The offers for completing the frozen reactor are more expensive: ranging from EUR1,404 to EUR1,541 per kilowatt.) Considering the Parsons analysis, the most expensive offer was submitted by the Canadian AECL: the price of two generators with total nominal capacity of 1,212 megawatts is EUR2.516BN, while the value of an installed kilowatt is EUR1,861. However, the heavy water technology offered by the Canadians has been entirely eliminated from the ranking. Both the Parsons consultants and the members of the interdepartmental commission propose that light water Russian reactors be constructed in Belene. An expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency commented on that occasion that of all recent nuclear projects around the world Bulgaria is the only one that discusses building second-generation reactors.Meanwhile, the NEC informed that the London-registered Parsons has been chosen for an engineering company of the construction of the new N-plant. It will prepare the executor tender documents and will have to provide high-quality construction, licensing, introduction and maintenance of the new capacity.