The Kozloduy NPP has applied to the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (BNRA) for a licence to use fuel supplied by US-Based Westinghouse. Currently the two VVER 1000 reactors at Kozloduy units 5&6 use fuel from Russia’s TVEL.

In December 2022, Kozloduy and Westinghouse Electric Sweden signed the contract for the supply of fuel for unit 5 of the plant as Bulgaria seeks to diversify its sources of fuel supply in line with European policy. This came after the Bulgarian National Assembly passed a resolution to accelerate finding a replacement for Russian fuel. Kozloduy also last year signed a deal with France’s Framatome for the supply of fuel unit 6.

Kozloduy NPP has requested the licence for to use Robust Westinghouse Fuel Assembly (RWFA) fuel, BNRA said in a press release. The application comprised 80 documents totalling 8.400 pages, “mainly technical documents and safety analyses”. The RWFA fuel is designed for use in VVER-1000 reactors and has been in use in six VVER-1000 units in Ukraine since 2018.

The RWFA design is an evolution of Westinghouse's previous VVER-1000 fuel design, WFA, which was first introduced as lead test assemblies in South Ukraine unit 3 in 2005 but which damaged the reactor and had to be removed.

"The next nine months will be of critical importance for the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulator to perform a thorough and timely review of the safety analysis reports and release a permission for the fuel load at unit 5 by next May," Westinghouse’s Bulgarian country manager, Ivan Pironkov, said in a social media post.

Westinghouse in April signed subcontractor agreements with Canadian uranium producer Cameco and UK-based nuclear fuel consortium Urenco for uranium which will guarantee the 10-year supply of nuclear fuel for Kozloduy 5.

Image: Kozloduy units 5 and 6 (courtesy of Kozloduy NPP)