Russia to provide nuclear fuel for Bulgarian plant until 2020

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"When Kozloduy [plant] Director General Ivan Ivanov visited Russia, an additional agreement was signed to extend the contract for nuclear fuel supplies" for four out of the plant's six reactors, said the TVEL corporation, which provides fuel for the Balkan state's NPP.

MOSCOW, March 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will provide nuclear fuel for a Soviet-designed nuclear power plant in Bulgaria until 2020, a Russian supplier said Thursday.

"When Kozloduy [plant] Director General Ivan Ivanov visited Russia, an additional agreement was signed to extend the contract for nuclear fuel supplies" for four out of the plant's six reactors, said the TVEL corporation, which provides fuel for the Balkan state's NPP.

Built in 1974, Kozloduy is the only operating NPP in Bulgaria. Its four reactors generate about 40% of the country's power output, part of which goes to Turkey. The other two reactors were shut down in 2002.

The Kozloduy issue is very sensitive for Bulgaria, whose long-awaited accession to the European Union has been scheduled for 2007. However, it could be delayed if the former eastern bloc country fails to set an exact deadline for the closure of its aging NPP. This condition was set by the EU, which says the facility located two miles away from the Danube River does not meet modern ecological safety requirements.

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