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EconomyUkraine hopes to begin installation of Bulgaria's nuclear reactors in June

Ukraine hopes to begin installation of Bulgaria’s nuclear reactors in June

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Kiev is sticking to the price of $600 million despite Sofia’s desire to gain more from a possible deal.

Ukraine expects to start building four new nuclear reactors this summer or fall, Energy Minister German Galushchenko told Reuters at the end of January this year. The country is trying to compensate for lost energy capacity due to the war with Russia. Two of the units, which include the reactors and related equipment, will be based on Russian-made equipment that Ukraine wants to import from Bulgaria, and the other two will use Western technology from power equipment maker Westinghouse.

Ukraine hopes to sign a deal in June to buy two nuclear reactors from Bulgaria as it seeks to compensate for the loss of its Russian-occupied Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, the head of nuclear company Energoatom said in an interview. quoted on 23 march by Euractiv.

The new reactors will be installed at the Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant in western Ukraine and will be equipped with Russian-designed equipment that Kiev wants to import from Bulgaria, Petro Kotin told Reuters.

The two reactors, originally purchased by Bulgaria from Russia more than five years ago, were to be used for the Belene NPP project, which has now been abandoned, as Russia is no longer involved in the assembly of the reactors and Bulgaria cannot shoulder the bill alone .

Russia gained control of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, after it launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Zaporizhia’s six nuclear reactors are no longer operational.

  “Negotiations between the government of Ukraine and Bulgaria continue… and I think that sometime in June we will have the result of concluding contracts with Bulgaria for the purchase of this equipment,” Kotin points out. “I set a (task) for our construction organization and the Khmelnitsky NPP to have it ready for installation by June,” he adds, referring to the first of two reactors that will be ready for installation immediately.

According to him, if the reactor is delivered on time, Energoatom will be ready to start commissioning the new reactor in two to three years, a period that is also needed for the production of the turbine for the unit. “Energoatom” is conducting preliminary negotiations with General Electric for the construction of the turbine.

The second reactor will be installed later, with Cottin giving no timeframe.

He pointed out that Bulgaria had previously priced the two reactors at $600 million, but Sofia wanted to increase the cost of the equipment.

“On the Bulgarian side, there is a constant desire to achieve greater benefits for themselves than this 600 million dollars, and the more time passes, the higher prices they announce, but we are still focused on the price of 600 million dollars” , adds Kotin.

Energoatom also intends to build two more reactors at Khmelnytskyi based on the US AP-1000 reactor, and that the company will start concreting the two new units in early April.

After the loss of Zaporozhye, Ukraine relies on nuclear power from the country’s three other operating plants, a total of nine reactors, including two currently operating at the Khmelnytskyi NPP.

Kotin says that Ukraine has not given up on its plans to restart the Zaporozhye NPP one day and that, unlike Russia, it will be able and know how to get the power plant back into operation.

Illustrative Photo by Johannes Plenio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/huge-cooling-towers-in-nuclear-power-plant-4460676/

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