Romania will sign a deal with the US for Cernavoda nuclear project

12 Oct 2020

Romania and the United States have agreed to cooperate for the construction of Units 3 and 4 and the refurbishment of Unit 1 at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania. Romania will use US technology and expertise for the modernisation and new build project. In addition, the US Exim Bank would offer a US$8bn (€6.8bn) financial package to the country for the nuclear units and other projects.

Romania aims to add two 720 MW reactors at its Cernavoda nuclear power plant, which consists of two 650 MW CANDU reactors. Construction was suspended in 1992 and the unfinished units were preserved. Romania initially planned to build the expansion project with 6 European companies, which withdrew between 2010 and 2013. In 2015, Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN, 82.5% state-owned) signed an MoU with China General Nuclear (CGN) to revive the project and in 2019 the companies signed a preliminary agreement whereby CGN would take a 51% stake in the project. In January 2020, the Romanian government announced that it would award the contract for Cernavoda Units 3 and 4 to companies from NATO and EU member countries and in June 2020, Nuclearelectrica terminated all deals and negotiations with CGN.

In January 2020, SNN awarded a US$10.8m contract to Candu Energy, a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin, for engineering analyses and assessments of the 650 MW Cernavoda Unit 1 Candu nuclear reactor, with the objective of extending the lifetime of the plant by another 35,000 hours. Such an extension will allow the Cernavoda Unit 1 to continue operating safely until it is ready for refurbishment in 2026.

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