A plasma melting plant opening at the Kozloduy nuclear plant in Bulgaria is a breakthrough in the treatment and disposal of radioactive waste, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced on 10 July. Metal and debris are melted to plasma at the new facility, and the end product has a much lower radiation level enabling it to meet strict guidelines for storage or final disposal.
The facility, with a capacity of 250t a year, will treat waste from Kozloduy units 1-4 (VVER 440s), which were closed between 2002 and 2006 as a condition for Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union, and Kozloduy 5&6 (VVER-1000s), which are still operating.
Kozloduy 1-4 are being decommissioned by the EBRD-managed Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDSF), To date, donors have supported the KIDSF with more than €900m. The fund has provided 65% of the financing for the €31m ($36m) plant, with the rest coming from the Bulgarian government.
The plasma facility was built by a joint venture of Spain’s Iberdrola and Belgium’s Belgoprocess. It can also retreat legacy radioactive waste, which can make the new technology potentially widely applicable beyond Kozloduy, EBRD said.
Read more on the design of Kozloduy's Plasma Plant
Photo: A new plasma melting facility has started operating at Kozloduy nuclear power plant