Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power yesterday announced the signing of a contract with Romania’s RoPower Nuclear for front-end engineering and design (FEED) work that, according to the American company, marks “a significant step toward the deployment of a NuScale VOYGR small modular reactor power plant in Romania.” The contract was signed on December 28.
A joint venture of Romanian energy firms Nuclearelectrica—owner and operator of the Cernavoda nuclear plant—and Nova Power & Gas, RoPower was launched last September to bring NuScale’s SMR technology to the Eastern European nation.
Phase 1 of the FEED work will define the major site and specific inputs for a six-module, 462-MWe VOYGR plant to be deployed at a former coal-fired facility in Doiceşti, NuScale said in the announcement, adding that the eight-month project will include the issuance of subcontracts to perform the environmental impact assessment and subsurface geotechnical investigation, evaluation of site and site-specific requirements for NuScale’s standard plant design, and the development of a project-specific cost estimate.
C-suite statements: “NuScale’s commencement of Phase 1 [FEED] work in partnership with Nuclearelectrica/RoPower keeps Romania on the path toward becoming the first country in Europe to benefit from safe, reliable, and carbon-free small modular reactor technology,” declared John Hopkins, NuScale’s president and chief executive officer. “We’re excited to enter into this next phase of our partnership with Nuclearelectrica and RoPower as our focus turns to the practical next steps toward the deployment of a NuScale VOYGR-6 SMR power plant in Romania.”
Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghita noted,” The signing of the contract for FEED work follows nearly four years of collaboration, research, and studies to ensure we select the safest and most [sic] performing technology, as well as the appropriate site. It also demonstrates the partners share the same values and commitment to build a greener and more sustainable future for the next generations.”
Background: NuScale and Nuclearelectrica in March 2019 signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the development, licensing, and construction of a NuScale SMR in Romania. At the time, Ghita said, “As the only nuclear power provider in Romania, we see great potential in SMRs because of the clean, safe, and affordable power they provide. We look forward to working with NuScale to see how their groundbreaking technology can benefit our customers and power Romania’s energy needs.”
In January 2021, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a $1.2 million grant to Nuclearelectrica for technical assistance to support the development of Romanian SMRs. The grant was to be used to identify a short list of SMR-suitable sites, assess technology options, and develop site-specific licensing road maps.
Later that same year, on the sidelines of the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, John Kerry, the Biden’s administration’s special presidential envoy for climate, joined Romanian president Klaus Iohannis to announce a NuScale/Nuclearelectrica plan to build a VOYGR-6 plant in Romania.
An additional MOU between NuScale and Nuclearelectrica was inked in May 2022 to conduct engineering studies, technical reviews, and licensing and permitting activities at the Doiceşti site, which by then had been selected as the preferred location for VOYGR deployment.
And last June, at the G7 summit in Schloss Elmau, Germany, world leaders launched the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, described by the U.S. State Department as an effort “to narrow infrastructure gaps around the world, strengthen the global economy and supply chains, and advance international security through strategic investments.” Included among the partnership’s projects was a $14 million U.S. commitment toward a FEED study to provide site-specific data necessary for the deployment of a NuScale plant in Romania, including cost, construction, schedule, and licensing details.