Monitoring Mission for the Decommissioning Programme of shutdown nuclear facilities


On 5th and 6th October 2021, representatives of the European Commission (EC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Ministry of Energy visited facilities of State Enterprise Radioactive Waste on Kozloduy site. The visit was organised under the agenda of the regular Monitoring Mission for review of the activities for decommissioning of the shutdown Units 1 to 4 of Kozloduy NPP carried out by the Enterprise.

The Monitoring Mission team was composed of: on the part of Bulgaria – Miroslav Damianov, Deputy Minister of Energy; on the part of EC – Jan Panek, Director, Directorate-General for Energy, Gianfranco Brunetti, Deputy Head of Unit D2, Directorate-General for Energy and Carlos Alvarez Aguilera, Policy Officer – Decommissioning Sector, ENER D2, Directorate-General for Energy; on the part of the EBRD – Valentin Šeider, Associate Director – Head of KIDSF, Nuclear Safety Department. They witnessed, on the spot, the current status of the Decommissioning Programme for the shutdown 440-megawatt reactors of the nuclear power plant. During the two-day visit, the Mission members visited the facilities of Specialised Divisions ‘Decommissioning of Units 1-4’ and ‘RAW Kozloduy’, namely, the Plasma Melting Facility, the Size Reduction and Decontamination Workshop for decommissioning materials, the building which is in the process of reconstruction and intended to be used for the production of reinforced-concrete containers, the construction site of the National Disposal Facility for low and intermediate-level radioactive waste, as well as the building of the newly-built Information Centre for Decommissioning. After being made aware of the most significant achievements in the decommissioning process, and the objectives achieved during the reporting period for the first half of 2021, the Monitoring Mission team held a meeting with SERAW Executive Director, Dilyan Petrov, and also with senior management representatives from the Enterprise.

Among the main topics discussed during the meeting were the implementation of the scheduled deadlines for the individual projects and activities related to the overall decommissioning process, the impact of the COVID pandemic, the need for joint analyses of the progress of the programme, taking into account the experience gained from the similar programme at Bohunice V1 NPP, Slovakia, which is also supported by the Contributors. All participants in the discussions jointly concluded that the work of the Monitoring Mission is an important established practice, having a significant benefit for the ultimate goal – the safe decommissioning of the shutdown nuclear facilities.

At the end of the visit, Jan Panek summarised: “I think it is very important for us to come to Kozloduy often and monitor the progress of the projects. Our current visit is very special because we had a limited period of time in which it was not possible to travel to Bulgaria due to the COVID restrictions. So, I am very glad that we managed to make a complete tour not only of the facilities at the Kozloduy NPP site, but also of the National Disposal Facility for Radioactive Waste. Our visit to the new Information Centre for Decommissioning was undoubtedly essential, because we all know how important it is to provide information to the public, not only about future developments in the nuclear field, but also about the support provided by the European Union for these projects.”

The Monitoring Mission takes place every six months and is aimed at ascertaining the real progress of decommissioning activities and projects, which are financed through grant funds by the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDSF). Due to COVID-related restrictions, however, the established regularity of visits was disrupted, and the last visit of EC and EBRD representatives took place in October 2020.

In accordance with the Council Regulation of the European Union on the provision of grant funds to Bulgaria in the process of decommissioning of nuclear facilities* and the applicable procedures, the implementation of activities which are financed by the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDSF), shall be subject to regular monitoring. In accordance with the current rules, the Decommissioning Programme progress shall be monitored every six months in several successive steps. SERAW drafts a Monitoring Report presenting the implementation of the planned activities for the respective period, which is reviewed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and submitted to the Directorate-General for Energy (ENER) of the European Commission (EC). This is followed by on-the-spot visit to the Kozloduy site by representatives of the European Commission in order to directly monitor the implementation of the activities specified in the document. The procedure ends with a final meeting of the Committee at which the results of the monitoring are summarised and the Monitoring Report is accordingly adopted.

* COUNCIL REGULATION (Euratom) 2021/100