Romania Considers Building Two Nuclear Reactors for $7 Billion
The state atomic operator, Nuclearelectrica, is in talks with the Lavalin group, the owner of CANDU reactor technology, regarding the construction of two nuclear reactors for a reported $7 billion. The CANDU reactors, each with a capacity of 706 MW, are already in operation at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant.
This information was released by Nuclearelectrica's press office.
Energy Minister Sebastian Burduja added that Nuclearelectrica is negotiating with Lavalin to sign an agreement later this year. Lavalin owns the Candu technology, which is already employed in two Romanian reactors with a capacity of 706 megawatts. Together, these reactors account for roughly a fifth of Romania's electricity production.
The introduction of two new blocks will bolster Romania's share of emission-free nuclear generation to a third of its energy balance, while also facilitating power supply to neighboring Moldova.
The company intends to refurbish one of its existing reactors and add two new ones, using the same Candu technology, which utilizes heavy water as a moderator and coolant, and natural, rather than enriched, uranium as fuel.
"The goal is to begin the agreement process with Lavalin this autumn, during which the group will commit to developing and supporting the project, including within the European Commission," said Burduja.
Alongside agreeing on costs, accounting for inflation, the ongoing negotiations concern funding structure and how to modernize the existing infrastructure in line with post-Fukushima accident requirements.
Initial cost estimates for the reactors ranged from €6 billion to €7 billion. Burduja stated that the final investment decision on construction is expected in 2026-2027.
Exim Bank US will provide a loan of $3 billion to subsidiaries, and Burduja noted that funding mechanisms from Canada and South Korea will also be utilized.
Burduja mentioned that other foreign partners, such as the United Arab Emirates, may assist in project financing.
As a member of the European Union, Romania aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to meet reduction goals and strengthen supply security, especially pertinent after Russia's incursion into Ukraine led to a decrease in Russian gas supplies.
Burduja indicated that the ministry is developing a low-carbon energy support scheme based on Contracts for Difference (CfD), allowing agreed-upon electricity pricing. Romania will establish a fund, using EU funds, to implement the scheme.
He also noted that Romania will hold tenders for 5 GW of wind and solar projects in 2024-2025, financed through CfDs, with an additional 5 GW later on.