Radiation incident at Bulgarian plant

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear plant reported a rupture in a heating device on Monday which caused a leak of radioactive solution into a pipeline in its turbine hall but it said the spill had caused no contamination. The plant said it registered the leak last Saturday at one of its two 1,000-megawatt Russian-made units, which had been taken off line for annual maintenance. It said workers had taken a length of pipe into which the radioactive solution had leaked to a radiation control zone and flushed it, and that no radioactive pollution had been registered in the turbine hall or outside of the plant. «No radioactive contamination has been established in the turbine hall, at the plant’s site or outside of it. There is no contamination of staff,» the plant said in a statement. It said a special commission was investigating the incident and the Balkan country’s nuclear safety watchdog had been informed. It is the second security-related incident at Kozloduy this year. In March, a pump malfunctioned at its other 1,000-MW unit and 22 of the reactor’s control rods did not move as required. The incident was assessed as «level two» under the zero-to-seven International Nuclear Events Scale (INES), in which seven is the most serious. Bulgaria, which will join the European Union in January, has pledged to close down two of its 440-MW units at Kozloduy by year-end over safety concerns voiced by the bloc. Its remaining two 1,000-MW reactors are to stay running until next decade and then be decommissioned.