4. Nuclear power programmes in future member states

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Special: European Nuclear Threats: Old and New


4.1 Bulgaria

(November 14, 2003)


Operating Reactors Reactors Under Construction Electricity Produced in 2002 (TWh) % of Total Electricity Produced
Number Installed Capacity (MW) Number Installed Capacity (MW)
4 2,722 1 1000 20.22 47


Bulgaria has one nuclear power plant in operation, Kozloduy. It consists of 6 units. First four of them are VVER 440-230 and the last two - VVER 1000-320. Both types are Soviet design, the first one - from the 1960's. The first unit started its operation in 1974. The next ones were switched on to the electricity grid in 1975, 1980, 1982, 1988 and 1993 respectively.

As a part of its strategy for keeping units 3 and 4 in operation after 2006, the Nuclear Regulator has issued long-term licenses for operation of those units for a period of 8 and 10 years respectively. Until that time the units operated on a basis of yearly permits.

On December 31, 2002 units 1 and 2 were closed down. It was done under the agreements between Bulgaria and EU for the closure of units 1-4. The formal decision for the closure was taken by the Council of Ministers at December 19, 2002. The closure of the next couple of reactors (No 3 and 4) is envisaged for 2006. Nevertheless, the Bulgarian authorities may be ready to break this agreement by using a number of technical and legal arguments. The decommissioning process is supposed to be supported financially by two existing funds - Bulgarian Fund for the closure of nuclear facilities and International Support Decommissioning Fund, set up by the EU and managed by the EBRD. In addition the Kozloduy NPP also should use some of its own resources.

Despite the international agreements and physical and financial steps taken in the direction of decommissioning there is a strong political consensus that the closure should not happen. For more than a year different political parties - both from inside and outside the Parliament, those in power and in opposition - promoted steps for "defending" the units from closure and argued that the closure would be a ‘national betrayal’. Very recently the Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on Energy again declared that the ‘fight for saving units 3 and 4 at Kozloduy NPP is a national priority’.

To fulfil this goal Kozloduy NPP has implemented a programme for upgrading the safety of units 3 and 4. That programme includes a construction of a special system (‘jet-whirlwind condenser’) to deal with possible accidents that involve release of radioactivity. The modernisation of units 5 and 6, financed through loans from Euratom, US and Russia is expected to be completed before the end of 2006.

The fuel for the reactors is imported from Russia on the basis of a framework agreements. The average yearly needs of fuel are 210 elements for the VVER 440 and 110 for the VVER 1000. In 2002 the number of the imported elements is 306 in total, of which 116 for the VVER 1000 and 190 for the VVER 440. There is a facility for processing low- and medium- radioactive waste that produce solid waste.

There are three legal documents on which the management of the radioactive waste (RAW) and spent fuel is based: The Convention on safety in management of spent fuel and management of RAW, The Law for the Use of the Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes and the National Strategy for safety management of spent fuel and RAW. The radioactive waste in Kozloduy is divided in low-and medium level radioactive waste (both in liquid and solid form) and high-radioactive waste (spent fuel). According to the national legislation spent fuel is not defined as ‘waste’.

Spent fuel is stored at Kozloduy in two kinds of facilities. After being stored between 3 -5 years in the pool (Bassins for Cooling Fuel, BOC ) at thepower plant itself it goes to the Facility for Spent Fuel (FSF).


Basin BOC 1 BOC 2 BOC 3 BOC 4 BOC 5 BOC 6 FSF
Capacity (elements) 704 727 728 726 610 610 168
Spent fuel (elements) 325 357 376 324 402 320 140


To gain more capacity the spent fuel is stored too dense (too close to each other) - a clear violation of safety rules.

The previous Chairman of the Committee for Use of the Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes (now Agency for Nuclear Regulation) denied during his service period to issue a license for the operation of FSF. That time the FSF was functioning on the basis of an interim (yearly) permit. The current Chair of the Agency has issued such a license in 2001 after some measures for seismic stability of the FSF had been finished and accepted by the relevant authorities. Again, some measures that were implemented in order to increase the capacity (compact storage) raise the question whether the safety is the main principle in the operation of FSF.

Export of spent fuel to Russia was a regular practice until 1988 on a "zero" price base. It was stopped after the poli-tical changes in 1989. In the period of 1998-2002 at least three times Kozloduy NPP has exported spent fuel to Russia on the basis of framework agreements between Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Russia. The known transports are: 1998 - 8 containers VVER 440 spent fuel, 2001 - 8 containers VVER 1000 and 2002 - 8 containers that include 96 elements VVER 1000 spent fuel.

The issue for the export of spent fuel is one of the most non-transparent issues. Today, under the slogan of the ‘fight against terrorism’, secrecy has risen further.


  • Apparently there will be not enough space to storage spent fuel in the near future, so the negotiations with Russia were accelerated by the present government. Yet, the questions such as safe transportation (all aspects of the problem), prices, non-proliferation, sending back the high radioactive substances from the reprocessing, etc. remain unsolved;
  • The first bidding procedure for the construction of a dry storage for spent fuel was terminated, thus postponing the change of the approach in spent fuel management. The new bidding procedure was opened in June 2003 with two new conditions - doubling the capacity of the facility and a new bidding procedure.
  • Despite the implementation of several rehabilitation measures, there are still problems with accidental leakages. These mainly happen at the pools were spent fuel is stored until it is moved to the FSF.


As a part of its plans to ‘compensate’ the closure and decommissioning of units at Kozloduy NPP, the Bulgarian government has proposed to ‘unfreeze’ the construction of Belene NPP. The construction of Belene was stopped in 1990 after mass protests of the citizens of the nearest town of Svishtov and the environmental movement of Ecoglasnost. Nevertheless, the construction was only stopped as a part of a moratorium. After the moratorium was imposed, the delivered equipment was stored and maintained on the site of the Belene NPP. Officials said it will be possible to utilise a large portion of the equipment for the continuation of the construction works.

The officials and nuclear industry representatives stated that already 40 % of the construction works for the first unit (1000 MW, VVER, Soviet design) are completed and more than $ 1 billion had been spent for the construction. However, there are no official documents dated before January 1990 available to verify these figures. Moreover, part of the construction works that has been done is associated with additional infrastructure such as railroad connection, blocks of flats, hospital in Belene. Those eventually could be used for many other projects, but not only for NPP.

The decision to restart the project was taken by the government in December 2002. The selection of contractors and investors is scheduled for the first half of 2004 after the completion of technical and economic surveys that will determine the type of the reactor to be used.

Five companies have already notified the Bulgarian authorities of their interest to participate in the project - Skoda (Czech Rep.), AECL (Canada), Framatome (France) Atomenergoexport (Russia) and Westinghouse (US). AECL proposed a 700 MW CANDU reactor. Yet unnamed Canadian bank is ready to give a credit for the CANDU reactor. Skoda has proposed a joint venture with the national power utility and an export credit line from Czech banks. Atomenergoexport wants to build the first unit following the initial design schemes and offered also construction of additional 3 or 4 reactors. Both Skoda and Atomenergoexport cited 2008 as the launch target. Westinghouse seeks to establish a joint venture with the Bulgarian state and a nuclear fuel supplier.

According to the Minister of Energy, Mr. Milko Kovatchev, the technology that would be selected should guarantee at least a 40 years functioning unit. In September 2003 the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Waters has notified the Romanian government for the beginning of the EIA procedure for Belene NPP.

Bulgarian officials stated also that they will not give up with Belene NPP ‘regardless of what political decision will be made on Kozloduy 3 and 4’.


4.2 Czech Republic


Operating Reactors Reactors Under Construction Electricity Produced in 2002 (TWh) % of Total Electricity Produced
Number Installed Capacity (MW) Number Installed Capacity (MW)
6 3,468 - - 18.74 25


There are four reactors, all VVER 440-213s, currently operational in the Czech Republic, sited at Dukovany in Southern Moravia. In addition, two VVER 1000 reactors are in operation at Temelin, in Southern Bohemia. Both nuclear power stations are owned by the Czech Electricity Utility (CEZ) which has majority (67%) state ownership. The privatisation of CEZ has been halted after two rounds as the bids were not large enough and uncertainties surrounding the status of Temelin raised further concerns. Another round is not foreseen before 2003 with interest being shown by French, German, British, Italian, Belgian and US buyers. However, the most likely buyers are EdF or E.On. Since late 2000, CEZ has retained a majority share in the transmission grid operator REAS, and six of the eight regional electricity distribution and service companies that supply and distribute electricity to the final consumers. Halfway 2002, these distribution firms were incorporated into CEZ, while the state bought out REAS again.The two others (South Moravian and South Bohemian electricity companies) are majority owned by E.On and the Austrian Energie A.G.

Relative to other Soviet designed reactors the VVER 440-213 has a good operating record and Dukovany is no exception. Since the early days of their operation the reactors have been exposed to international attention. Between 1984-1986, Siemens of Germany was involved in the supply of equipment to all units. Proposals were put forward in 1990 to replace the original instrument and control technology with one built by Siemens/KWU. Although delays have occurred it is expected that this will still happen. In 1998, CEZ announced that a substantial 35 billion CZK (€ 750 million) modernisation program would be undertaken by 2005. The upgrading program is designed to extend the life of the reactors from 30 to 40 years. This will enable the last reactor at the station to be closed in 2027.

In 1980 it was proposed to construct four VVER 1000 reactors at Temelin. The reactors were ordered from the Soviets in 1982. Following the political changes in November 1989 the situation was reviewed and in 1990 the project was reduced to two reactors. Originally it was expected that each reactor would be constructed in 60 months, with the first construction permits being issued in November 1986 on a total budget of around 28 billion Czech Crowns.

In March 1994, the US Ex-Im Bank approved a decision to guarantee a loan of $ 317 million for work performed by Westinghouse Electric Corporation. However, it was only at the end of October 1996 that the Czech Government finally approved the state guarantee. $ 280 million was loaned by CitiBank International and the remainder through Belgium's Generale de Banque. The CitiBank received a credit guarantee from Ex-Im. In addition a credit Guarantee was given by the Belgium export credit agency, Office National du Ducroire. Further investment was covered from CEZ reserves, freed by credits from - amongst others - Deutsche Bank, Bayerische Landesbank and World Bank for emission reduction from coal fired power plants.

The project to complete the Temelin nuclear power plant has been afflicted with considerable delays and cost over-runs. These problems have been caused by the political, social and economic changes in the Czech Republic, the bidding procedures and securing financing, but most recently due to the technical problems that have arise as a result of the design changes. Construction started in 1983, with plans to start operation in 1991. The cost and time overrun problems significantly increased from 1993, when CEZ contracted Westinghouse to implement certain safety upgrades. The unexpected and serious technological complications resulting from the combination of different Russian and American components and technologies stalled the project during the 1990s. The accumulated delays now amount to 5 years and the cost overruns are 30 billions CZK (1 900 million). The total budget is estimated by the IEA to be around 110 Billion CZK. The necessary re-routing and retrofitting of the cabling system in order to comply with Western standards has proved to be one of the most costly and difficult ongoing problems at the Temelin plant. Estimates of the amount of cabling needing reinstallation have continually increased even within a relatively short period of time. An additional 300 holes for the cabling had to be drilled through the existing concrete structure, which further added to the cost and delays.

Unit 1 of the Temelin nuclear power reached criticality in October 2000. However, even at this late stage problems were coming to light over construction malpractice and equipment defects. It was said that these were ignored due to the commercial and political pressure of getting Temelin operating. In January 2001, problems were reported in the turbine of Unit 1 that only increased until it was decided to overhaul the turbine installation completely in May 2001. The reactor was supposed to come back into operation in July 2001 and into full commercial operation in September, a period that was delayed by another month. At that time a new testing phase of the turbine started, which ran into further delays because of problems in the turbine and valves in the secondary circuit. In addition CEZ is under pressure from its international customers, as CEZ is a major exporter of electricity to the EU. However, two of its key clients, E.ON and RWE, have pulled back from CEZ, due to domestic market and political pressures in Germany. CEZ has tried to compensate for this loss of export by selling electricity to Serbia. Nevertheless exports in 2001 and the first half of 2002 are lower than planned. In early 2002 the second unit at Temelin was completed and went critical. Since the opening both Temelin reactors were forced many times to a (partial) shutdown due to technical problems. Temelin1 has had to deal with already 51 incidents.

All spent fuel is current stored on the sites of the reactors. It is anticipated that a deep geological disposal facility for HLW will be operational by 2065.


4.3 Hungary


Operating Reactors Reactors Under Construction Electricity Produced in 2002 (TWh) % of Total Electricity Produced
Number Installed Capacity (MW) Number Installed Capacity (MW)
4 1,755 - - 12.78 36


Hungary has four VVER440-213 reactors at one operating nuclear power plant at Paks, close to the river Danube in the centre of the country south of Budapest. Construction started on the reactors between 1974 and 1979 and they became operational between 1983 and 1987. The Hungarian and Soviet Union governments first reached agreement on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Hungary in 1966. One of the primary motivations for the project was to utilise the Hungarian uranium deposits and thus decrease energy import dependency. However, Hungary never developed its own uranium enrichment facility and had to rely on the Soviet Union and then Russia for its fabricated fuel as well as for its fuel disposal. Paks is owned by the State under the company name of Paks Nuclear Power Plant Ltd. The Hungary Electricity Board Ltd (MVM) owns 99% of the shares, with the remaining shares owned by the local authorities.

In July 1998 MVM stated that they were considering applying for the extension of the operating life of the reactors for a further twenty years above the original 30-year design life. This would allow the reactors to operate through until 2032-2037. The licenses for Paks are awarded for ten-year periods by the Hungarian Atomic Energy Agency (HAEA). The HAEA awarded ten-year operating permits to Paks units 1 and 2, in 1997 and to units 3 and 4 in 2000.

Throughout the operating life of the Paks reactors Western firms have been involved in upgrading and training programs. These include IVO (now Fortum) of Finland, the Spanish firm Tecnoatom and Siemens. In September 1996 Siemens was awarded the € 20 million contract for the installation of new computerised instrument and control equipment, to be installed in each reactor between 1999 and 2002. This contact is part of a 60 billion Forint (€ 250 million) investment plan proposed by MVM. This program is expected to increase the output of the station by 10-15%. According to HAEA the majority of this project is safety-related, but is also expected to increase the output and potentially the lifetime of the reactors.

At the end of February 1999 the State owned Hungarian Power Companies (MVM Rt) announced that two smaller gas fired power plants had been chosen, in preference to an expanded Paks, for satisfying medium term demand needs. The gas stations were a 191 MW gas fired combine cycle combustion turbine and a 110 MW co-generation plant. Paks initially put in three bids for the construction of a VVER 640, Westinghouse AP 600 and Candu 6 by AECL.

On April 10, 2003, a serious incident occurred during the cleaning of the fuel elements in the second unit of Paks. As a result of insufficient oversight and inappropriate actions a majority of the 30 fuel elements in a 'washing' machine were severely damaged and radioactivity was released into the environment. Simultaneously, the crane needed to remove the elements was unavailable and consequently the temperature continued to increase. The incident was discovered when a sudden increase of Krypton-85 was detected inside the cleaning equipment and in the reactor hall. As a result ventilation systems were deployed and the noble gases were released to the environment through the ventilation stacks. Later an attempt was made to open the lid of the washing container but one of the pulleys of the crane broke and the lid was only partially opened. The incident was initially classified at level 2 (‘incident’) of the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), but later reclassified to level 3 (‘serious incident’).

On April 16 a team managed to fully remove the lid and using visual inspections ascertained that the damage was much more severe than they thought earlier. Although the camera could only inspect the very upper part of the container later video inspections revealed that most of the elements had been damaged. The extent of the fuel damage was why the incident was reclassified as level 3 of the INES scale.

In June 2003 the results of an IAEA inspection were made public. The agency concluded that the Hungarian safety authorities had underestimated the safety significants of the fuel cleaning system and consequently a license was issued without sufficient reviews and assessments. Furthermore, the contractual team undertaking the work had worked without proposed supervision, without sufficient training and operating and emergency procedures were not sufficiently developed. The reactor is still not in operation six months after the accident.

Spent nuclear fuel is no longer sent to Russia for reprocessing and consequently it is stored at the Paks site. There are currently no proposals for the development of a high level waste repository.


4.4 Lithuania


Operating Reactors Reactors Under Construction Electricity Produced in 2002 (TWh) % of Total Electricity Produced
Number Installed Capacity (MW) Number Installed Capacity (MW)
2 2,370 - - 12.90 80


The Ignalina NPP consists of two units of RBMK-1500 type reactors. The unit 1 of Ignalina NPP was commissioned at 31 December 1983 and unit 2 on 31 August 1987.

The RBMK is a graphite moderated boiling water reactor. The RBMK is a channelized type reactor - the reactor has a 11.8 m diameter and a 7 m high core of graphite blocks penetrated with 2052 channels, 1661 of which are pressure tubes. The remaining core channels contain control rods or various types of instrumentation. Each fuel channel contains a stack of two fuel bundles. The nuclear fuel assemblies of the RBMK type reactors are changed without shutting down the reactor. This is possible only for channel type reactors. It is possible to disconnect one of them at a time from the reactor cooling system, change the fuel assembly, and then reconnect the channel.

The design capacity of the RBMK is 1500 MW. However, after the disaster at Chernobyl, the capacity of the Ignalina NPP was reduced for safety reasons. Recently both reactors at Ignalina NPP are running at maximum of 1250 MW.

The design lifetime of the RBMK-1500 is projected for 30 years with the replacement of all fuel channels after 15 years. So, according the design, operation of unit 1 and unit 2 at Ignalina NPP can last until 2014 and 2017 respectively. However, after Chernobyl, international attention was directed towards the RBMK reactors and at the beginning of the 1990s they were considered as extreme dangerous by international experts.

To support earlier closure of these highrisk units, the EC and G7 initiated the Nuclear Safety Account (NSA) administrated by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In February 1994 the Lithuanian Government signed the NSA Agreement by which it committed itself not to extend the lifetime of either reactor at Ignalina NPP beyond the time at which its fuel channels should be replaced. Later on, during negotiations on EU Accession, dates on closure of these nuclear units were agreed - 2005 for unit 1 and 2009 for unit 2.

The Ignalina NPP was planned as a part of the integrated Soviet north-western energy system and probably had a role in the Soviet military complex (plutonium production). The planned capacity of the plant was 6000 MW (4 units of 1500 MW each). However, only two were commissioned. Construction of the third unit was stopped in 1989 due to public protest. The RBMK reactors were built exclusively in the territory of former Soviet Union (while VVER were exported to other Soviet satellite states) due to the capability to produce weapons grade plutonium by reprocessing of the fuel. It's clear that the fuel cycle (from uraniummining to the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel) during the Soviet times was an integrated part of Soviet strategic interests. Of course all data related with nuclear industry was secret. After Lithuania became independent the country got Ignalina NPP as a heritage but lost all contacts with the Soviet nuclear and military industry except for the fuel supply.

The fuel used in the Ignalina NPP is imported from Russian Joint Stock Company TVEL. It's a company within the nuclear complex of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Atomic Energy. TVEL is a state-owned holding monopoly, which manufactures and supplies fresh nuclear fuel to nuclear reactors in Russia and worldwide.

After removing spent fuel assemblies from the reactor they are being placed in the special pools under a layer of water, located in the same buildings as the reactors. At present about 7,600 spent fuel assemblies are accumulated at unit1 and about 5,000 - at unit 2.

Almost all radioactive waste in Lithuania is produced by Ignalina NPP. Medicine, industry and agriculture makes up only a few cubic meters low radioactivity waste per year. The radioactive waste at Ignalina NPP consists of solid and liquid waste. Approximately 99% of the radioactivity in waste, is contained in spent fuel. All nuclear waste is stored in relevant facilities inside of Ignalina: short lived radioactive waste storage, medium lived radioactive waste storage, long lived radioactive waste storage and liquid radioactive waste storage tanks. In order to ensure safe decommissioning of Ignalina NPP it's necessary to manage all radioactive waste of all levels. With the financial support of EU and G-7 some pre-decommissioning projects for unit 1 were prepared and some of them are under implementation, some foreseen for the nearest future.

Pre-decommissioning projects related with nuclear waste management at Ignalina NPP unit 1:

  1. Interim spent fuel storage facility;
  2. Waste management and storage of long lived radioactive solid waste;
  3. Cement solidification facility for spent ion exchange resins;
  4. Waste management and storage of short lived radioactive solid waste;


Implementation of the interim spent nuclear fuel storage facility has already started. In 1993 an international tender for the construction of the mid term spent nuclear fuel storage facilities was announced. The German company GNB won this tender and contract on the delivery of 20 CASTOR and 40 CONSTOR steel containers for the temporary storage of the spent fuel was signed. The first container CASTOR was constructed in May, 1999. Another 19 CASTOR containers were placed one by one to the site later. Some part of the spent fuel has already been placed in available containers.

These containers will not solve the problem of the spent fuel storage. One of the important works connected with the future decommissioning of Ignalina NPP unit 1 is the unloading and location of the spent fuel. In order to ensure safe handling of spent fuel at Ignalina NPP it is necessary to construct a storage facility for in total 17,850 spent fuel assemblies. According to the pre-decommissioning plan storage should begin starting 2006.

The spent fuel can be stored in the CASTOR and CONSTOR containers for 50 years. There are no ideas for the years after this period.

In the past few years in Lithuania, decisions about power plants have been made according to the Least Cost Power Generation Plan produced by the Ministry of Economy. The current Least Cost Plan was produced in 1999, to evaluate decisions about the closure of Ignalina NPP unit 1. It shows that on the past assumptions, no new capacity will be needed till 2010, and refurbishment of existing capacity at Elektrenai and Vilnius and Kaunas CHP is more economic to meet existing demand, than to build a new plant. Current studies show that no new generating plant would be needed until after 2010, around when unit 2 should close according to the EU. Recent studies by OECD also show that a new nuclear plant would be the most expensive option compared with oil and gas.


4.5 Romania


Operating Reactors Reactors Under Construction Electricity Produced in 2002 (TWh) % of Total Electricity Produced
Number Installed Capacity (MW) Number Installed Capacity (MW)
1 655 1 655 5.11 10


Cernavoda NPP is the only nuclear power plant in Romania with one CANDU 6 type reactor in operation. As early as 1979, Canada's export credit agency, the Export Development Corporation (EDC), provided a $ 1 billion loan to Romania for construction of the nuclear station. Construction has started in 1980. At the time, Romanian dictator Ceaucescu had grandiose dreams of building five or more reactors, but these plans collapsed through lack of funds. It was only late 1996 when the reactor started commercial operation.

The choice for CANDU technology by the Romanian Dictator was taken not on technical and economic grounds, but mainly for political reasons in order not to make Romania dependant on other countries for the import of enriched uranium fuel. This kind of fuel is not needed in the case of CANDU reactors, which can use natural uranium fuel coming from Romanian mines. Therefore, the Ceaucescu allowed the establishment of a close partnership with the Canadian nuclear industry since the 80s. Since then Canadian procedures and standards have been regarded as reference guidelines for the new Romanian nuclear industry.

Since the 1990's Romania is going through the process of decentralisation in its energy sector and creation of open market. The nuclear power plant is operated by 'Nuclearelectrica' company which was established in 1998 as a result of the important restructuring measures taken by the Romanian Government. By Decision No. 365/1998 of the government of Romania, the Romanian Electricity Authority (RENEL) was restructured and new entities were created as follows:

  • Companion Nationala de Electricitate S.A. (National Power Company) abbreviated CONEL, further split to three separate entities responsible for conventional energy production, transportation and distribution,
  • Societatea Nationala 'Nuclearelectrica' S.A. (National Nuclear Company 'Nuclearelectrica') and
  • 'Regia Autonoma pentru Activitati Nucleare' (Autonomous Company for Nuclear Activities) with three subsidiaries, no legal persons - Heavy Water Plant, Institute for Nuclear Research and Centre for Nuclear Projects Engineering.


Three branches were further created at the 'Nuclearelectrica' to share responsibilities within the company:

  • ‘CNE PROD’, operates the Cernavoda NPP Unit 1 and the auxiliary services;
  • ‘CNE INVEST’, in charge with the Unit 2 completion and units 3 to 5 preservation;
  • ‘FCN - Pitesti’, the nuclear fuel fabrication plant


Cernavoda NPP has been working quite steadily over the year since late 1996, when it started commercial operation. The unit have been showing load factor over 85%, which is high though one should mind technical specific of CANDU reactors able to change fuel without stopping the reactor. Over these years Cernavoda was producing some 10% of overall produced electricity and also supplying heat to the town of Cernavoda. Same time electricity demand was falling down in Romania, until last year when it has stabilised, leaving Romania with 11,700 MW overcapacity (roughly half of the installed capacity).

Major outage of the Cernavoda reactor happened in August 2003 because a record drought left insufficient water to cool down the reactor. The reactor was out of operation until September 17 when the Danube water raised to a sufficient level.

Romanian choice of the CANDU technology was based on the idea of closed fuel cycle to insure its independence. The country has a number of uranium mines, some of them are out of operation now and expecting closure.

Fuel bundles are fabricated at the FCN Pitesti - the nuclear fuel plant started in 1985, with a capacity of 90 tonnes/year and supplies CANDU-6 type fuel. According to Nuclearelectrica the plant can double the output with minor investments.

'PROMAG-PROD' company produces heavy water for CANDU reactors and other applications. Having a production capacity of over 180 tons/year PROMAG-PROD is among the biggest producers in the world and also working for export.

Each year the Cernavoda unit 1 produces 6,000 spent fuel bundles which are stored in the Spent Fuel Pool located in the service building on-site. In 2002 a contract to construct an intermediate spent fuel dry storage facility was signed with AECL Canada. The Storage will accumulate up to 300,000 fuel bundles for a period of 50 years.

According to the provisions of Law 111/1996 on safe conduct of nuclear activities, a law on radioactive waste management and decommissioning was elaborated. The draft law, entitled 'Law regarding the management of nuclear spent fuel and radioactive waste, in view of their final disposal', was prepared being in the process of approval. The draft law proposes to establish a national competent authority for spent fuel and radioactive waste management. The agency will be responsible for all relevant decisions as to the sites, design and construction of nuclear waste deposits.

Romania is in the process of identifying its approach to the final disposal of nuclear waste. Special research was launched to make an assessment of potential options. Geological disposal was considered to be the most effective solution and much of the research is focused on identification of the appropriate site. Export of the nuclear waste to Russia for final disposal is also considered. However, minding history of Romanian nuclear energy which aims to be independent, one might expect that deep geological disposal will be most favoured.

State plans to upgrade the Short Lived Low and Intermediate Level Waste and spent Sources Repository Baita-Bihor and assessing the possibility of its extension to accommodate all the decommissioning waste from the research reactors.

Romania considers development of the nuclear sector as strategically important. Completion of Cernavoda unit two considered to be a priority at the ’he National Strategy for the Development of Romanian Energy Sector on Medium Term 2001-2004’. However, the document was harshly criticized by the European Commission in the energy chapter of the Regular Report on Romania of November 2001 because of the lack of any realistic and clear priority in the paper and the complete absence of any strategic vision.

Construction of the five reactors on Cernavoda site were started in the early 1980s. Officially today it is unit 2 which is under construction and units 3 to 5 are in preservation. The Romanian government has approved financing Cernavoda 2 and has issued a financial counterguarantee on commercial and political risks for foreign investors, public lenders and insurers involved in the project. The whole package was ratified by the Romanian parliament at the beginning of January 2002. Financing for the project is expected to come from Euratom and the export credit agencies (ECAs) of Canada, Italy, France and the Unites States. Completion of Cernavoda 2 is expected to cost $ 750 million (€ 650 million).

The financial conditions implemented for unit 1 will also be applied for unit 2. This means that the Romanian government has committed itself to buying equipment and material only from Canadian and Italian companies, which will also provide technical assistance. In particular, ANSALDO ENERGIA from Italy is in charge of the balance plant. The management team consists of representatives from state-owned SNN Nuclearelectrica, AECL and ANSALDO.


  • The Financial Package for Cernavoda 2 NPP
    ECA Amount
    EDC (Canada)
    231 millon
    SACE (Italy)
    118 millon
    COFACE (France)
    23 millon
    Eximbank (US)
    21 millon
    Roman. Dev. Bank
    25 millon
    Credit Lyonnais
    9 millon
    223 millon


Cernavoda 2 is the last project that could benefit from Euratom support before the proposed extension of the Euratom loan ceiling. As a matter of the fact, Euratom is considering to concede Romania a € 223 million loan, the exact amount of money which is left and not committed in Euratom's treasury.


4.6 Slovakia


Operating Reactors Reactors Under Construction Electricity Produced in 2002 (TWh) % of Total Electricity Produced
Number Installed Capacity (MW) Number Installed Capacity (MW)
6 2,408 2 776 17.95 55


Slovakia has two nuclear power plants, Jaslovske Bohunice and Mochovce. Bohunice has four operating nuclear reactors and Mochovce has two.

Outside of Russia, Bohunice was the first nuclear power plant within Eastern Europe and the NIS. In 1958 construction started on the A-1 reactor. This was a gas cooled heavy water reactor that began commercial operation in 1972, but was closed in 1977 following a partial meltdown of the core. In the 1990s decommissioning began at the plant, it is estimated that it will cost 12 billion Sk (€ 270 million).

The two V-1 reactors (VVER 440-230 design) have a nominal design life of 30 years and therefore are expected to close in 2008-12. According to the information from UJD SR (Nuclear Regulatory Authority), V-1 started the operation in 1980. At this time UJD stated the V1 life-time was 30 years, i.e. up to 2010. These reactor designs are classified as first generation and as such are targeted for early closure by the international community. As part of the agreements for the proposed funding of the completion of the Mochovce nuclear power plant (see below for further details), the Slovakian Government signed a decree in May 1994. This committed Slovakia to closing V-1 as soon as Mochovce entered commercial operation, or by the year 2000 at the latest. Despite this, in April 1999 the Government formally announced that the 2000 closure deadline had been abandoned and that the reactors would operate as long as they were safe. No alternative plan for closure was drawn up. The Government also argued that an increase in electri-city demand in Slovakia made the closure of the reactors impossible. In reality, however, Slovakia started in 2000 to export electricity, mainly to the Czech Republic and Hungary, and this export has significantly increased in 2001.

Between 1991-3 V-1 was subject to what has been called a small backfitting program. This involved the implementation of 81 safety measures and cost around 2 billion Slovak Koruna (Sk) (45 million Euro). The program continuously passed into the big backfitting program (so-called gradual reconstruction) which started in 1993 and finished in June 2000. The reconstruction was done by the consortium of Siemens and VUJE, Slovak Nuclear Research Institute. It's costs increased by 30% and finally reached 8.5 billion Sk (200 million Euro). As part of the accession process negotiated in the run up to the Helsinki EU Summit in 1999, agreement was reached on the closure of Bohunice V-1, by 2006 (1st reactor) and 2008 (2nd reactor). However, even these dates look uncertain. In July 2001, Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority agreed with the V-1 further operation after the large backfitting program has finished, stating the V-1 operational safety "is good, comparable with nuclear units of the same vintage operated in the developed Europe countries". Subsequently, the regulator awarded, in 2001, a ten year operating licence for the 1st V-1 unit as opposed to the normal annual license previously awarded. The IAEA has performed several missions and consultations to Bohunice during 2000-01 and backed the Slovak government in its decision to keep the plants operating.

The both Bohunice V-2 reactors (VVER 440-312 design) were opened in 1984 and 1985

Construction of Mochovce started in 1982 but gradually stopped in 1990 due to a lack of funds, at which time there were four reactors under-construction. In 1991 the Czechoslovakian Government asked the EBRD to consider funding completion of units 1 and 2 (VVER 440-213). In 1992 Electricité de France (EdF) began an extensive audit of the existing plant infrastructure and equipment with the Slovak electricity utility (SE, formerly SEP). Bayernwerk AG also became involved in the project and proposed that they provide funds, expertise and a completion guarantee to finish Mochovce to international safety standards.

In May 1994 the project sponsors made a formal request that the EBRD and one of the potential co-funders Euratom consider financing the completion of units 1 and 2. The project sponsor was a company called EMO a.s. which was jointly owned by SE and EdF. EdF had control over the company with 51% of shares; it was proposed that EMO might later also include the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM) and Bayernwerk. EMO was to repay the loan by leasing the plants to SE once the project was complete. The estimated cost of this project was some € 700 million{C}

. The funding for the project was expected to come from a variety of national and international sources including the EBRD/Euratom, French and Germany Export Credit Agencies and the Slovakian Government. Despite opposition from outside and inside the EBRD, the Bank's Board of directors was scheduled to discuss and vote on the project in March 1995. A number of countries, led by Austria, were expected to vote against the pro-ject. However, a week before the Board discussion the Slovakian Government asked for the project to be suspended. The project was formerly withdrawn from the Bank on the 5th September 1996. The Slovakian Government removed the project because it claimed that it found the conditions that the EBRD and other Western funders were placing upon them ‘unacceptable’, and that more advantageous contracts were possible.

Towards the end of 1995 a second series of financial and construction consortiums was prepared which were eventually to complete Mochovce. The new consortium was reportedly able to complete the project for € 560 million, 30% less than the previous estimate. The new consortium included French, German, Czech and Slovak banks, and included export credit guarantees from their governments. The general contractor for the project completion was Czech Skoda with Siemens and Framatome delivering safety equipment. EdF also became involved as in June 1996 they signed a technical assistance and co-operation agreement with Mochovce. Despite the originally stated costs, the completion finished at minimum 35 billion Sk (about € 820 million).

In April 1998 the first fuel was loaded into unit 1 of Mochovce. SE claimed that the safety standard of the reactor was based on analyses from the IAEA, the French nuclear protection and safety institute (IPSN) and the German reactor safety authority (GRS) joint venture Riskaudit and that 70% of the measures recommended had been implemented. The operation started in August 1998. The second unit was initially scheduled for completion in April 1999, but was delayed and started operation in January 2000.

In November 1998 Economy Minister Ludovit Cernak visited Mochovce and said that the third and fourth reactors of the Mochovce should not be completed. After hard fight inside the country (State administration, political parties, economic-political lobbies, NGOs) in April 2000, the Slovak Government approved the resolution/decree stating that it does not agree with providing of the State guarantee in any form to the Mochovce 3-4 completion. Given the financial situation of SE this practically means the project cancellation.

Slovakia will be the only EU country in May 2004 with reactors said to be under construction, however, the uninterrupted completion of even these appears unlikely. The current restructuring and partial privatisation of SE will impact upon the completion of reactors 3 and 4.


4.7 Slovenia


Operating Reactors Reactors Under Construction Electricity Produced in 2002 (TWh) % of Total Electricity Produced
Number Installed Capacity (MW) Number Installed Capacity (MW)
1 676 - - 5.31 41


Slovenia has one Westinghouse 632 MW reactor situated on the banks of the Sava River, 75 km from Ljubljana loca-ted at Krsko. The reactor is in a unique position in that it is owned jointly by two countries, Slovenia and Croatia, each having a 50% stake, with each supposed to receive half the electricity produced. In 1974 an agreement was signed between Elektroprivreda of Croatia and Savskega elektrarne of Slovenia giving each partner the right to 50% of the electricity produced and making legal provisions in the event that either partner withdrew or caused delays in construction. In December 1974 Tito laid the first symbolic parts of the foundation. Despite the reactor going critical in September 1981, commercial operation was not achieved until 1983, due to regulatory and technical problems.

Since its operation, two significant safety reviews have been undertaken at the plant. The first was the International Commission for Safety Analysis of Nuklearna Electrarna Krsko (NEK - the reactor's owner and operator). The Commission was paid for by the governments of Austria, Italy and Slovenia and published their report in 1993. This made 74 recommendations on technical and procedural changes required to increase the safety operation of the plant, which were made mandatory by the Slovenian authorities. At the end of 1995 degradation of the two steam generators was detected and led to a decision to replace them. Delivery of the Siemens/Framatome replacement units occurred in 2000 and cost € 105 million. NEK undertook a 6% power uprate (45 MW) along with the new steam generators.

The Slovenian Government has a long-term policy of phasing out nuclear electricity and it is therefore not anticipated that any more nuclear power plants will be constructed. In October 1995 a proposal in the National Assembly calling for a referendum on the shutdown of Krsko was defeated following the withdrawal of support by the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia Party.

In 1998 a dispute occurred over the non-payment of bills - especially the surcharge for decommissioning and waste disposal - and the tariffs being charged by NEK to the Croatian utility. This led in early August to NEK cutting the 300 MW of supply to Croatia and the subsequent export of electricity from Slovenia to Italy. However, the dispute over commercial arrangements is a small part of a much bigger dispute. In July 1998 NEK announced that it planned to finance the replacement of the steam generators by itself and declared that the Croatian utilities did not own half of Krsko. However, in July 2001 an agreement was reached by which a 50:50 split in ownership was confirmed with a similar division of costs and output, with the establishment of a new company Elesgen. However, the official decommissioning strategy, which the Croatian side disputed, was not included in this agreement and the decision is not likely to be taken before the plants' closure.