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On May 18, the first edition of an innovation competition was held at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski". It was organized by the Youth Association of the Bulgarian Nuclear Society with the support of "Kozloduy NPP" EAD. The National Competition I4N Bulgaria (Innovation for Nuclear) is part of the European competition I4N Europe of the Youth Nuclear Network under the European Nuclear Society (ENS-YGN). The national competition winner will compete in the European final against finalists from seven other European countries. The final will be held on June 27 at the Mechatronics Center at TU-Sofia.

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Before the competition, a discussion panel was held, featuring Tsanko Bachiyski, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA); Petyo Ivanov, CEO of "Kozloduy NPP - New Capacities"; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Todor Yalamov, Vice Dean for Research, Innovation, and Projects at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"; Lyuben Marinov, Project Management Director at Kozloduy NPP; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Denitsa Sgureva, lecturer at TU-Sofia; and Dr. Borislav Boev, representative of the National Committee of Bulgaria at the World Energy Council. The panel was moderated by Venko Stoev, Deputy Chairman of the Youth Association of the Bulgarian Nuclear Society. The discussion covered examples of successful innovative projects worldwide, the socio-economic benefits of implementing innovative solutions in various sectors of the nuclear industry, and emphasized safety as a key aspect that should be developed by young aspiring professionals. The discussion also addressed several challenges facing the nuclear industry, which young specialists can focus their creativity on moving forward.

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The competition jury included discussion panel participants Lyuben Marinov and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Todor Yalamov, as well as Mladen Mitev, Chairman of BNS; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kalin Filipov, lecturer at TU-Sofia; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Plamen Petkov, lecturer at Sofia University; Yavor Andreev, Chairman of the Youth Association of BNS; and Dimitar Stoyanov, representative of the Nuclear Competence Center "Kozloduy".

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Three teams reached the final, presenting their projects within 15 minutes and then answering questions from the jury. The first place was awarded to a team consisting of Aleksandar Georgiev, Vladislav Shabanski, and Yavor Botev, who presented a project on "Final Storage for Spent Nuclear Fuel from Units 5 and 6 of Kozloduy NPP". The second place went to the team of Antonia Velcheva and Nikolay Hrischev, with a project on "Silicon Carbide as an Alternative Material for Fuel Element Cladding". The third place was awarded to the team of Ani Toskova and Tsvetan Yovov, with a project on "Small Modular Reactors: Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Energy Production in Industry Using Spent Nuclear Fuel".


All finalists received a certificate from BNS and coverage of their expenses for participating in the Annual Conference of BNS. The winning team received a cash prize of 2000 BGN and the right to represent Bulgaria in the European final.

The competition aims to create opportunities for talented young specialists to develop their knowledge and creativity, find innovative solutions based on the use of nuclear technologies, and contribute to solving the challenges faced by present and future generations. The competition also provides a platform for promoting and discussing these ideas, catalyzing youth energy towards creating innovative solutions.