Bulgaria on Monday hired U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Company to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of a new unit at Kozloduy nuclear power plant, energy minister Delyan Dobrev said.
The company has offered to do the job for a price of 999,500 euro ($1.3 million), Dobrev told reporters at a news briefing in Sofia after the signing of the contract.
Westinghouse won the order in competition with four other bidders: France's Areva - individually and in a consortium with Mitsubishi, Australia's WorleyParsons, and Bulgaria's Risk Engineering.
The feasibility study needs to be preceded by a geological survey and an environmental impact assessment, for which contracts are planned to be signed by the end of next week. Their combined value is projected at about six million levs.
WorleyParsons and Risk Engineering have filed bids for conducting the geological survey, while the environmental impact assessment will be conducted by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Kozloduy's CEO Valentin Nikolov said.
The Bulgarian government decided earlier this year to add a 1,000 megawatt (MW) reactor at the Kozloduy site instead of building a 2,000 MW nuclear power plant from scratch in Belene. Kozloduy operates two reactors of 1,000 MW each after the government closed down four units of 440 MW each to address nuclear safety concerns of the European Union prior to the country's accession to the bloc in 2007.