Westinghouse Electric Company and the Bulgarian government are in talks to set a structure and timeline for their agreement to build a seventh reactor at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant.
The discussions follow the expiry on 31 March of a shareholder agreement the US-based company signed with the previous government in August last year. Under that agreement, Westinghouse would be responsible for providing all of the plant equipment, design, engineering and fuel for the new unit.
At that time, Westinghouse said it planned to hold a competitive tender "within the next year" for construction of an AP1000 reactor at the site that was projected to be online by 2023.
Danny Roderick, Westinghouse president and CEO, said in a statement on 2 April that the decision to continue talks "was made jointly by all parties with current conditions in Bulgaria to support an infrastructure project of this size". He added: "While there is unanimity that the project is clearly attractive in the long-term, the parties believe that different models will need to be considered for deploying the AP1000 technology in the future."
Westinghouse, which is majority owned by Japan's Toshiba, continues to provide and offer assistance and global technology to the "entire spectrum", Roderick said, of the plant operations to Kozoloduy nuclear power plant, from fuel and services to decommissioning and waste management.
"Westinghouse is pleased with the cooperation it has developed with KNPP and in the near term is focused on the immediate and quantifiable improvements of Bulgaria's nuclear generating capacities through the introduction of state-of-the-art Westinghouse technology and global experience."
The site is already home to two operating Russian-designed VVER-1000 pressurised water reactors, Kozloduy 5 and 6, as well as four shut-down VVER-440s. Proposals for a seventh and eighth unit at Kozloduy date back to the 1980s, when possible sites were reserved. Finally, in November 2013, Bulgaria's government gave the go-ahead for a new unit at Kozloduy and announced it would begin exclusive talks with Westinghouse on building an AP1000 reactor on the site.
Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) progressed negotiations, including the prospect of Toshiba investing in the project to the extent of a 30% share. However, in June 2104 Toshiba withdrew from negotiations regarding investment, and handed over to Westinghouse which on 1 August signed the shareholder agreement to take 30% equity in the new plant through Kozloduy NPP-New Build plc. Government-owned Kozloduy NPP plc will hold 70%, and finance will need to be secured by both parties. The agreement also formalized the selection of an AP1000 design reactor by BEH, its subsidiary Kozloduy NPP plc and Kozloduy NPP - New Build plc.