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Siting for new nuclear power unit in Bulgaria expected to get nod this summer: official

SOFIA, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The siting of a new nuclear power unit in Bulgaria is expected to be approved by the country's regulatory authorities this summer, an official said here on Thursday.

Latchesar Kostov, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA) said at a press conference that the siting is located on the territory of the country's only nuclear power plant (NPP) Kozloduy, which has two operating reactors.

The NPP has asked his agency to approve the selected siting, and NRA launched last December a public procurement procedure for independent analysis of the safety of a future nuclear facility there, Kostov said.

"These are sophisticated, complex and large volumes of documents that need to be reviewed to verify that the technical requirements for deploying a new nuclear facility have been met," he said.

The siting must also be approved by the Ministry of Environment and Water, he added.

He hoped that the approval procedure will finish in the summer of 2016, Kostov said.

Last October, Aleksandar Nenkov, member of the Parliamentary Energy Committee said on behalf of the government and ruling parliamentary majority that Bulgaria sought possibilities to increase the country's nuclear power capacity through the construction of a seventh reactor of Kozloduy NPP.

The reactor would cost about 5.77 billion U.S. dollars, and to avoid taking risks the government has sent invitations to any possible investors that are willing to invest in the construction of this unit, Nenkov said.

Kozloduy NPP provides more than one third of the total annual electricity output of the Balkan country. It has six reactors in total but the first four units were shut down in 2002 and 2006 as one of the conditions for Bulgaria's accession to the European Union.

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