In 2023, the Bulgarian Kozloduy nuclear power plant will operate at a reduced capacity due to the overhaul of two units, which will last a total of 70 days. Also, TPP Marica Istok 2 is undergoing overhaul, and for a significantly longer period, while RHE Čaira will be offline for the whole year.
The overhaul of the fifth unit of the Bulgarian nuclear plant is scheduled for April 22, while the renovation of the sixth unit will begin on September 23. Each of the two repairs will last 35 days, according to the schedule of the Electric Power System Operator ESO.
Regular planned overhauls are extremely important for the reliable and safe operation of power plants, but in this case they clash with the sensitive situation in the energy sector, when the suspension of certain capacities, even for a short time, can lead to shortages of electricity, and therefore to an increase price on the free market.
At the beginning of December, for example, Bulgaria turned from an exporter into a net importer of electricity precisely because of the urgent rehabilitation of the sixth block of NE Kozloduy. Back then, the country imported electricity from Greece, Turkey, and even North Macedonia.
The state thermal power plant Marica Istok 2 also has scheduled overhauls throughout 2023, which could lead to a similar scenario. Blocks 5, 6, 7 and 8 will be overhauled for a total of 245 days, with work starting already in May, and activities on aggregates 1, 2, 3 and 4 will last a little longer – 251 days, also according to ESO’s schedule. However, in the event of a production shortfall, repairs could be delayed for a short time, but not completely canceled.
RHE Čaira is also on the schedule of ESO, whose hydro units (1, 2, 3 and 4) are going through “extended rehabilitation after the accident”, which will last a year. At the end of March, a heavy accident blocked the plant – one of the turbines was literally destroyed during the testing of the facility. Several months later – in November, Acting Minister of Energy Rosen Hristov announced that the complete rehabilitation of RHE will cost around one billion euros.
Renovations are also planned at KonturGlobal Marica Istok 3, Marica Istok 3, Ruse, Bobov Dol, etc. Activities will also be carried out in heating plants. Sofia’s heating system, for example, will be overhauled during 10 days in August.