By the commissioning of the National Disposal Facility for Radioactive Waste, Bulgaria will be among the countries that have a reliable facility for safe disposal of the main RAW volumes generated so far. The repository will be located near Kozloduy NPP and will be under institutional control for 300 years. This was highlighted at a seminar in Sofia on 19 November 2019, organized by State Enterprise Radioactive Waste on the occasion of its 15th anniversary. The first phase of the construction is to be completed in 2021.
Nine topics covering the whole spectrum of activities of the national operator for management of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste generated on the territory of Bulgaria were presented during the forum. The audience included representatives of the scientific community, the Ministry of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, journalists and others. The event was opened by the SERAW’s Executive Director, Mr. Dilyan Petrov, and moderators were the first Executive Director of the Enterprise, Mr. Anton Ivanov and Mr. Sergey Tsochev, the first Chairman of the Management Board when it was first established in 2004.
The construction of a National Disposal Facility for radioactive waste, generated on the territory of the country, was one of the main topics in the seminar today. “The first stage of laying the protective loess-cement cushion for the future National Disposal Facility was completed,” said the Chief Engineer of the Specialized Division engaged in its construction – Mrs. Ira Stefanova. The cushion is one of the main engineering barriers against the spread of radioactive substances. The disposal cells of the future facility will be built on it. It provides protection to the facilities in accordance with the local environmental conditions. At the same time, the design of the facility is in line with the latest international theoretical and engineering advances in this specific field.
A highlight of the seminar was also the completed equipment dismantling in the Turbine Hall of the shutdown Units of Kozloduy NPP. Despite the lack of an extensive global experience in the field and the peculiarities of each individual project related to dismantling of nuclear facilities, State Enterprise Radioactive Waste manages to follow the selected strategy for decommissioning of the Units to the so called “brown field”. The deadlines set in the Decommissioning Programme are being met in compliance with all safety requirements and this was ascertained by the Monitoring Mission of the European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)*. Equipment dismantling was a key specific objective of SERAW in the decommissioning schedule planned for the period until 2030. The first actual dismantling operation took place in the summer of 2011 and the process was completed this autumn, almost one year ahead of the schedule.
The decommissioning of shutdown nuclear facilities is one of the main activity areas of SERAW’s activities and is a complex process with complex coordination with key priority on safety. To that end, innovative facilities were built and implemented in the last few years, such as the Size Reduction and Decontamination Workshop (SRDW) and the Plasma Melting Facility (PMF) (see the photos).
According to Mrs. Margarita Korkinova, Financial Director of the Enterprise, the decommissioning of radioactive facilities and management of radioactive waste, unlike all other areas, is not simply to scrap materials, but it’s an activity. „This often creates problems in the approach to accounting of activities related to radioactive waste management. The establishment of a unified approach to this problem is relevant and necessary, therefore our enterprise will initiate a project, which will become the basis of an international accounting standard in this area.“
„The reason for today’s event lies in the values our enterprise acknowledges. One of them is the pursuit of perfection, acquiring knowledge and continuous improvement of our work through education and training. We use science and innovation, we apply the best international practices, and we preserve and transfer the knowledge gained. And these are not just fine words“, mentioned Mr. Sergey Tsochev in his address to the audience.
SERAW was established in 2004 pursuant to the Act on the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy (ASUNE). The mission of the enterprise is the safe management of radioactive waste generated by the Kozloduy NPP and other nuclear applications in medicine, industry, science and education on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
* Monitoring Committee missions take place every six months and are aimed at verifying the actual progress of the decommissioning activities and projects, as well as the construction progress of the National Disposal Facility for Low- and Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste, which is financed through grant funds by the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDSF). The KIDSF is funded by the European Union, as well as by the contributors to the KIDSF – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Finances are administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).