SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria will consider using U.S. technology for a new nuclear reactor it wants to build at the country’s 2,000 megawatt Kozloduy nuclear power plant, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Tuesday.
Borissov said the Balkan country was looking to diversify its nuclear energy assets and cut greenhouse emissions by building a new reactor based on modern technology that will work with U.S. nuclear energy fuel.
The government is expected to give its nod on Wednesday to a study that will explore the options for building new nuclear assets at the Kozloduy site, the energy ministry said.
At present, Bulgaria operates two Soviet-made nuclear reactors, Unit 5 and Unit 6, at its Kozloduy plant and is seeking investors for its Belene project that aims to install two 1,000 megawatt Russian nuclear reactors.
“We want to make Unit 7 with a completely different technology, with different nuclear fuel,” Borissov said in a post and video on his official Facebook account during a visit to the plant on the Danube River in northwestern Bulgaria.
Borissov’s statement comes days after a visit of U.S. top energy diplomat Frank Fannon to Sofia, who slammed the 10 billion euros ($11.8 billion) Belene project as based on an outdated technology that fails to advance Bulgaria’s energy security and locks its energy dependency to Russia.
Work on the Belene project has been impeded by the coronavirus crisis. On Tuesday, Borissov said the project was still on the table, but he wanted to have alternatives.
Kozloduy produces about 30% of Bulgaria’s electricity.
In 2014, Bulgaria signed a preliminary $7.7 billion deal with U.S. Westinghouse to build a new reactor at Kozloduy, but the plan failed the following year after cash-strapped Sofia said the company should become a strategic investor in the venture.
Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise