Rusatom Service, part of Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom, has completed an upgrade needed to extend the life of unit 5 at Bulgaria's Kozloduy NPP, the company said 31 May. Bulgaria has begun a €360m ($401.33m) upgrade of its two, operating Soviet-built reactors to ensure they can operate safely for another 30 years. Extending the life of the plants is part of Bulgaria's efforts to avoid an increase in electricity prices. Kozloduy NPP's two 1,000MWe VVER reactors - units 5 and 6 - produce about 30% of Bulgaria's electricity. Four smaller VVER-440 units were closed down as a condition for Bulgaria's accession to the European Union, despite having been declared safe by international experts following extensive upgrades.
Sofia has hired a consortium led by Rosatom divisions Rosenergoatom and Rusatom Service and French energy company EDF to carry out the upgrades on units 5 and 6. Rusatom Service said technical work on Unit 5 at the Kozloduy plant was complete and it would soon provide documentation which would enable the energy regulator to extend the unit's licence. Rusatom Service, which is also working on upgrade unit 6, said the work would take place during its annual maintenance outage. The 10-year operational licences of unit 5 expires in October and of unit 6 in October 2019.