SOFIA, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency here on Friday granted a license for the extension of the service life of the fifth reactor of Kozloduy nuclear power plant until 2027.
This 1,000-MW unit, which is one of two operational nuclear power reactors in the Balkan country, was connected to the grid in 1987 with a 30-year projected lifespan.
The development of nuclear energy in strict compliance with international standards for environmental protection and human health is an important priority for the Bulgarian government, the country's Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said at the license giving ceremony.
The ten-year extension of the reactor's lifespan was the maximum possible term under the law of the country, although the agency has found that it could safely operate until 2047, Petkova said.
Kozloduy NPP is operating at the highest safety standards, generating electricity at affordable prices and guaranteeing Bulgaria's energy security, Petkova added.
The agency's chief Latchesar Kostov said in turn that a procedure for the extension of the service life a nuclear reactor was held for the first time in Bulgaria.
According to Kostov, there are 448 nuclear power reactors in the world, with 288 of them in operation for 30 years or more.
Kozloduy NPP provides more than one third of the total annual electricity output of Bulgaria. Its second reactor, which also has a capacity of 1,000 MW, was connected to the grid in 1991.