Nuclearelectrica, operator of the Cernavoda plant—Romania’s sole nuclear power facility—has announced the signing of a support agreement with the Romanian government for further development of the project to complete construction of Cernavoda-3 and -4.
Located in southeastern Romania, Cernavoda is home to two operating 650-MWe CANDU-6 pressurized heavy water reactors, Units 1 and 2, plus the partially completed 720-MWe CANDU-6 Units 3 and 4—work on which was halted not long after the collapse of the Ceauşescu regime in 1989.
According to the Nuclearelectrica, the new agreement, signed June 9, allows for the start of stage-two activities, including “conclusion of contracts for the elaboration of the critical engineering necessary for the updating of the project; updating the project budget; structuring and contracting the financing and agreeing to an adequate contractual architecture for the implementation of the project; obtaining the favorable opinion of the European Commission …; obtaining the nuclear safety authorization for the construction phase and taking the final investment decision for the transition to stage III (construction).”
What they’re saying: “The signing of the support agreement between the Romanian state and Nuclearelectrica for the development of the Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4 project shows the firm support of the Romanian state for the development of the Romanian nuclear program,” stated Cosmin Ghiță, Nuclearelectrica’s general manager. “We thank the Romanian presidency, the government and parliament of Romania, the general secretariat of the government, the ministry of energy, the ministry of transport, the ministry of finance for their involvement and support in continuing this project! Units 3 and 4, whose term of entry into commercial operation is the years 2030 and 2031, respectively, will add a further 10 TWh of clean, stable, and affordable energy to the national energy system, supporting energy security. In addition, the four Cernavoda units will generate approximately 66 percent of Romania’s clean energy, with an impact in achieving Romania’s decarbonization targets. The Unit 3 and 4 project is particularly important for Romania’s energy future and for consumer protection and, at the same time, a point of pride for the entire Nuclearelectrica team.”
Background: In October 2020—just months after Romania canceled an agreement with China General Nuclear Power Corporation for the development, construction, operation, and decommissioning of Cernavoda-3 and -4—the United States and Romania signed an intergovernmental agreement to cooperate on the expansion and modernization of Romania’s civil nuclear energy program, specifically, the completion of Units 3 and 4 plus the refurbishment of Unit 1. The Romanian Parliament later ratified the agreement.
That same month, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) expressed, through a memorandum of understanding with the Romanian Ministry of Energy, its interest in financing energy investment projects in Romania, including nuclear projects, with a total value of $7 billion.
In November 2021, during the project’s initial stage, Energonuclear—a company created in 2009 to manage the reactor-completion project—signed a 12-month, C$8.4 million (about $6.3 million) contract with Candu Energy for the provision of engineering services.
And in November 2022, EXIM issued two letters of interest for the financing of U.S.-sourced pre-project technical services in connection with the proposed reactor construction project.