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Bulgarian Nuclear Plant Starts to Replace Russian Fuel

Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant. kznpp.org

Bulgaria's sole nuclear power plant on Monday began using atomic fuel produced by the U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Corporation, a key step as the country shifts away from its reliance on Russian energy.

The state-owned Kozloduy plant on the Danube River supplies more than a third of the country's electricity and has so far relied on Russian fuel for its two operational Soviet-built 1,000-megawatt reactors.

The oldest reactor was connected to the national electricity grid on Monday morning after "43 fuel assemblies, produced by Westinghouse, were loaded into the reactor," the plant said in a statement.

The gradual transition process toward the new fuel type is expected to take four years, it added.

In the wake of Moscow's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Kozloduy signed nuclear fuel supply agreements with Westinghouse and Framatome — a subsidiary of French energy giant EDF — to replace shipments from Russia.

Before the full-scale invasion, Bulgaria, which is a member of both NATO and the EU, depended almost entirely on Russian energy supplies, but it has since diversified.

The Kozloduy plant's second reactor is due to be supplied with Framatome's fuel. In addition, two U.S.-built nuclear reactors are to be installed at Kozloduy by the 2030s.

The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary have also signed nuclear fuel supply agreements with Westinghouse and Framatome.

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