ECONOMY

Bulgaria transfers nuclear fuel from closed unit in Kozloduy

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear plant said yesterday it has started to draw used nuclear fuel from one of its two 440-megawatt reactors Sofia shut down last year as agreed with the European Union. EU newcomer Bulgaria decommissioned the two 440-megawatt units on December 31, the day before its entry into the bloc, as part of its accession treaty and over safety concerns voiced by Brussels. «The transfer of fuel is carried out in coordination with the nuclear regulation agency. It is implemented in compliance with all safety requirements,» the plant said in a statement. The used fuel is transferred to a special pool where it will be left to cool for three years before being put into containment tanks. Kozloduy said the fuel transfer to the pool will be completed in early March when it would start to draw the fuel from the other closed unit. The Socialist-led government has launched a campaign to reopen the Soviet-made reactors saying they are safe and their closure would lead to power shortages in southeastern Europe, but the EU has indicated it would not review the issue. The other two operational units, with a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts, were working at full capacity, Kozloduy said.