Romania is working on completing its only nuclear power plant

Romania has signed a Support Agreement with Nuclear Electric, the operator of the Cerna Voda nuclear power plant, to advance the development of the plant’s third and fourth units. This marks a significant step for Romania’s only nuclear power plant, which currently supplies about 20% of the country’s energy. The agreement includes financial and legislative support from the Romanian government to ensure the successful implementation of the project.

Prime Minister Nicolae Cuca stated that the expansion of the Cerna Voda nuclear power plant is a crucial investment for Romania’s future. The plant, initially planned with four reactors, currently operates two Canadian-made CANDU reactors commissioned in 1996 and 2007. Plans to build two additional units with Chinese investors were abandoned in 2020 when Romania gained access to US nuclear technology.

In November of last year, an agreement was signed between Romania’s Minister of Energy and the President of the American Export-Import Bank (EXIM) to secure US technology and funding for the project. EXIM Bank will provide a loan exceeding $3 billion for the construction of two new reactors at the Cerna Voda NPP.

The prime minister emphasized Romania’s commitment to US support in developing its civilian nuclear energy program. He mentioned the $4 billion US funding and the completion of a Small Modular Reactors (SMR) simulator at Bucharest’s Polytechnic University, which will facilitate the launch of Romania’s SMR project.

Romania aims to become the first European country to utilize small modular reactor technology. A partnership between the American company NuScale and Romania’s Nuclearelectrica has been established to train engineers for future SMR plants in Romania.

Completing the Cerna Voda NPP and implementing the SMR project will contribute to Romania’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, 60% of the country’s energy mix consists of clean sources, with nuclear energy accounting for 20%. Romania plans to increase the share of nuclear energy in its energy mix to 36% by 2031.

The construction of Units 3 and 4 at the Cerna Voda NPP is seen as an essential investment for Romania’s energy future and is expected to cover more than a third of the projected energy needs for 2030-2031. Moreover, the project will help preserve over 20,000 jobs.

Prime Minister Cuca acknowledged the European Union’s support, specifically the EU Modernization Fund’s investment of €2.4 billion to drive the ecological transition. Romania is the primary beneficiary of this allocation, with an additional €1.1 billion in investments.

The Support Agreement was signed by the Minister of Finance, Minister of Energy, Director of the National Nuclear Company, and Secretary General of the Government. The Romanian government, through the Ministry of Finance, will secure the necessary financing for the project, including providing state guarantees to the project’s financiers. The agreement outlines the responsibilities of various ministries in the successful implementation of the Cerna Voda NPP expansion.

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