Westinghouse Electric Company has recently entered into a Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) agreement with Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild in Bulgaria. The purpose of this contract is to develop plans and designs for a new AP1000 reactor, which will be situated at the Kozloduy site. In accordance with the agreement, the project has commenced its initial phase, focusing on evaluating the Bulgarian industry and the current infrastructure at the Kozloduy site. The assessment aims to determine their suitability in facilitating the construction of the AP1000 reactor.

Westinghouse Energy Systems president David Durham said: “We are pleased to begin work to deliver the world’s most advanced, Generation III+ reactor technology to provide clean and reliable baseload energy for our customer and the people of Bulgaria.

“We thank Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild and the Bulgarian Parliament for their confidence in our industry-leading, Nth of a kind technology. We commend Kozloduy NPP-Newbuild for their thoughtful approach to best-in-class project delivery that will ensure high localisation of the work.”

In a previous development, the two parties had already made significant progress by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) earlier this year. This memorandum established a collaborative working group with the objective of strategically implementing the AP1000 reactor in Bulgaria. The working group is actively engaged in assessing various aspects such as regulatory compliance, licencing procedures, and design requirements. Moreover, it aims to devise an efficient and streamlined approach to support Bulgaria’s energy strategy. With the FEED contract now in place, this marks the initial phase towards the realisation of the AP1000 reactor project.

At present, the Kozloduy site houses two operational VVER-1000 reactors of Russian design. In December 2022, Westinghouse entered into a significant agreement by signing a ten-year contract. Under this agreement, Westinghouse will be responsible for the supply of nuclear fuel to one of the units, commencing in 2024. Notably, the fuel will be sourced from Westinghouse’s fabrication facility located in Västerås, Sweden.

The AP1000 advanced reactor stands out as the sole operating Generation III+ reactor that incorporates fully passive safety systems. With its modular construction design, it also holds the distinction of having the smallest footprint per MWe among reactors available in the market. Notably, the AP1000 has already demonstrated its capabilities with one reactor in operation and another nearing completion at the Vogtle site in Georgia, the US. Furthermore, in China, four AP1000 units are currently achieving remarkable operational performance, while an additional six reactors are under construction.

The AP1000 technology has gained significant traction globally. Poland has recently chosen the AP1000 technology for its nuclear energy programme, and nine units have been announced for Ukraine. Moreover, the technology is being considered for implementation at various sites in Central and Eastern Europe, the UK and the US.