Finland’s decades-long experience in safe and responsible management of high-level radioactive waste was shared with Bulgarian stakeholders in a national cooperative workshop that was held on Thursday 29th October 2020. As part of the workshop, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by Vice President Tommi Nyman of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Professor Dimitar Dimitrov, Rector of the Bulgarian National Nuclear Security Support Center, Department “National and Regional Security” (UNWE) to further develop competences and research opportunities in the field of safe radioactive waste management.
The workshop objectives were to bring together a wide delegation of parties aimed at fostering deeper cooperation towards the common goal of implementing a permanent waste repository in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Ministry of Energy Petkova Temenuzhka provided endorsement in a letter of support, expressing “Finland’s long-standing experience in implementing the deep geological storage program will contribute to building up expertise and to nuclear energy in our country. The workshop will enable experts to exchange experiences with respect to the best environmental protection practices.”
The workshop also addressed the recommendations of a 2018 IAEA Artemis mission to Bulgaria. According to Associate Professor Svetoslav Spassov, Director of the Nuclear Security Support Centre in Bulgaria, “this event is very important to Bulgaria, to advance their repository roadmap and readiness with concrete actions, technical targets, policy needs and communication plans.”
With regards to the Memorandum of Understanding, Dr. Erika Holt of VTT also emphasised that “there are a wide-range of lessons learned from Finland’s excellent experience in waste management, geological repositories, safety, stakeholder engagement and regulatory requirements that Finland is prepared to share with other countries looking to become the next leaders with us for implementing waste management solutions.”
The workshop opening keynote messages were provided by the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy, Finland Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment - Energy Department, and Finland’s Foreign Affairs office represent by the Embassy of Finland in Bulgaria. Additional technical presentations about lessons learned and opportunities were shared by Posiva Solutions Oy, STUK International and VTT of Finland, along with the State Enterprise Radioactive Waste, Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant and UNWE of Bulgaria.
The outcome of the workshop included plans for concrete actions to be implemented in 2021 to facilitate the deeper cooperation.