Ten companies, associations and research institutes have been invited to compete for preparing the stress tests at Bulgaria's sole nuclear plant at Kozloduy, it emerged on Tuesday.
Among them are France's Areva, which oversees the plant's security systems, US energy giant Westinghouse, which was recently signed to help extend the life of Units 5 and 6 and WorleyParsons, consultant of Belene nuclear power project.
"We launched a public procurement competition to stick to the law, we have invited everyone interested so that nobody feels ignored," the executive director Kostadin Dimitrov told Dnevnik daily.
The contest includes negotiations with the invited companies. The project budget is set at BGN 3 M.
The stress tests at the plant will cost about BGN 11 M and will be financed by the nuclear company.
Stress tests are performed in three stages, examination of the nuclear operator, local authority control and peer review by EU.
"We can not perform all activities of stress tests and therefore invite consultants to verify and prepare the necessary documents. They in turn will be audited by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency," said Dimitrov.
Bulgaria began preparations for stress testing its Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, NPP in March.
The check includes seven key components - location of the NPP, flood risk, cooling systems - construction, spare power facilities, longevity, type of reactors, and terrorist threat.
The International Atomic Agency will be notified about the test and its experts will be invited as monitors.
Upon conclusion of the check, Bulgaria will publicly announce the results and will propose the type of testing applied at Kozloduy to be included in the common European requirements for NPP tests.
In case there are additional safety testing requirements by the European Commission, Bulgaria is ready to apply them as well.
Earlier in March energy ministers from the European Union reached an agreement to stress test all EU NPPs. The decision came on the heels of the 9 point magnitude on the Richter scale earthquake and following 10-meter tsunami which damaged the Japanese Fukushima NPP.
The criteria for testing the NPPs in Europe are expected to be ready by the end of the year while the testing itself is not to start until 2012. (Source: Sofia News Agency)