In the period 4-8 November 2019, State Enterprise Radioactive Waste (SERAW) hosted a Regional Workshop under a Technical Cooperation Project of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – Vienna.
The event was declared opened by Mr. Vladan Ljubenov – Technical Director of the workshop, and by the SERAW’s Executive Director, Mr. Dilyan Petrov, who said:
“I am convinced that this workshop will address in detail all the professional challenges outlined in the topic and will answer the questions raised during the event. By sharing your national experience, you will increase your knowledge and along with the IAEA practices and standards in this field, you will return home with an information about the best achievements and thorough understanding of the topics discussed.”
The main topic of the four-year Regional Technical Cooperation Project of IAEA RER9150 was “Improving the Capabilities to Efficiently Implement Large Ongoing Decommissioning Projects and Waste Management with Minimisation of Risks Based on Initiatives and Potential Synergies.” The workshop in Bulgaria, being part of the project implementation, drew the interest of experts from five countries. During the workshop, the experts presented to all participants their respective national projects. Key items on the agenda were the presentations of four highly competent speakers invited by the IAEA – Mr. Steven Slater, Sellafield Nuclear Centre, United Kingdom, Mr. Charly Mahe, Centre d’ètudie nuclèaries, France, Mr. Sven Boden, CSK/CEN (Centre d’ètude de l’ènergie nucleairiè), Belgium, and Mr. Boris Andris, VUJE, Slovak Republic, a company specialized in the area of nuclear power engineering. Mr. Ivaylo Hristoskov, lecturer at the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, also joined as a speaker.
The participants in the workshop visited SERAW’s facilities on the Kozloduy site. They familiarized themselves with the construction progress of the National Disposal Facility for low and intermediate level waste. The new infrastructure, built in the last few years in order to facilitate the safe decommissioning of the shutdown nuclear units at Kozloduy, provoked a particular interest among the experts – Size Reduction and Decontamination Workshop, Plasma Melting Facility, Free Release Measurement Facility.
During the final session of the forum, the participants expressed their satisfaction with the knowledge and experience shared during the workshop, and pointed out that these would be valuable to the decommissioning practices in their own countries.
Mr. Steven Slater summarised the effectiveness of the experts’ work along with his personal impressions:
“Whilst the expert presentations were prepared separately, I believe they elaborated on the topic and provided a good balance between the theoretical evidence on the one hand, and on the other hand – the existence of a radiation situation in the real life and practices, something which, in my opinion, the participants and participating countries became well acquainted with and will continue exploring in more detail henceforth.
The highlight of the workshop was the visit to Kozloduy. Notwithstanding that I participated as a speaker, I continue to learn and this was no exception.
I was particularly impressed with the approach and efforts applied by the Kozloduy team in dealing with the biggest challenges to decommissioning programmes – ‘what shall we do with the waste.’ The implementation of the Size Reduction and Decontamination Workshop provides flexibility and opportunities, and when combined with the Plasma Melting Facility, it is a major achievement (in my opinion). While some challenges still remain, I believe that the team has both the capacity and capability to overcome them safely.
The development of a near surface repository for radioactive waste is particularly impressive. The repositories for such type of waste have been a global challenge in the context of decommissioning of nuclear facilities, but in the case of Kozloduy, SERAW has solved that problem and I look forward to reading the news or visiting the site when the facility is commissioned.
The event arrangements were first class. This is often neglected, but the well-arranged working conditions indeed provided an opportunity for holding an excellent workshop.”