Nuclear Power

23 Dec 2022

Romanian Government Approves Draft Law For Cernavoda Expansion

23 Dec 2022  by   

A draft law on the agreement to build two new reactors at Romania’s Cernavoda NPP was adopted by the government on 19 December and will now be submitted to parliament for approval of the agreement signed earlier between the state and Cernavoda operator Nuclearelectrica. “It is a very important law, which I hope will be adopted as soon as possible by my colleagues in the Parliament, in order to move forward with the project of the new units at Cernavoda,” Energy Minister Virgil Popescu said in a news release.
Cernavoda, Romania's only nuclear power plant, has two commercially operational Candu 6 pressurised heavy water reactors supplied by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. Construction of the two-unit station began in the early 1980s. The 700MWe Cernavoda 1 was commissioned in December 1996 and Cernavoda 2 in 2007. Construction of three more units began, but was stopped in 1990. The Cernavoda 3&4 project aims to complete two further Candu 6 reactors.
Nuclear Utility Nuclearelectrica is already working with Candu Energy (part of the SNC-Lavalin Group) on extending the operational life of Cernavoda 1 until 2026 following planned refurbishment from 2027 to 2029, which is estimated to cost €1.85 billion ($1.85bn). Unit 2 is due for refurbishment in 2037.when it would undergo a full refurbishment, as well as on completion of units 3 & 4. Nuclearelectrica operates under the authority of the Ministry of Energy, with the Romanian state holding 82.49% of the shares, and the other shareholders 17.5%.
Romania’s Ministry of Finance is expected to take the necessary steps to finance construction of the two reactors. The state will provide full guarantees for the financing contracted by the project company EnergoNuclear and will also guarantee a certain price for the electricity produced, under Contract a Difference (CfD), reported. The government will seek to European Union permission to qualify both measures as extra-budgetary operations – but if this is not possible, it will accommodate the related measures within the general government budget. An intermediate investment decision should be taken by May 2023, and the final decision by May 2025 – but both deadlines can be extended.
Popescu has already secured a series of commitments of support for Romania’s nuclear power programme - primarily from the USA and Canada following multiple meetings in Washington earlier this year. US Exim Bank has also announced the issue of two letters of interest (LOI) for the financing of pre-project technical services provided by the US for Cernavoda 3&4.
Nuclearelectrica shareholders in April 2021 drew up its strategy for Cernavoda 3&4, which comprises three stages. Stage 1 started at the end of 2021 with the capitalisation and launch of project company Energonuclear SA. This stage will last up to 24 months, during which engineering and security documentation will be prepared. In November 2021 Energonuclear signed a first contract with Candu Energy and the Candu Design Authority and OEM (the original manufacturer of Candu technology) for the project. Candu Energy will provide engineering services for the development and updating of the documentation.
Stage 2 will involve preliminary works, and is estimated to last up to 30 months. It will include critical engineering preparation for project definition, obtaining the Nuclear Safety Licence for construction, re-evaluating the feasibility of the project based on updated technical and economic indicators, and the adoption of the Final Investment Decision. Stage 3 will involve mobilising the site, starting construction, commissioning and commercial operation of unit 3 in 2030 and unit 4 in 2031.


More News