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Romania may become the first European country to operate small nuclear reactors

Romania may become the first European country to operate small nuclear reactors

The US company NuScale Power and the Romanian National Nuclear Nuclear Corporation plan to build a NuScale power plant with six small modular reactors (SMRs) in Romania by 2028. This announcement was made during yesterday’s meeting US Special Envoy for Climate Action John Kerry and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow.

In a joint statement, NuScale and the nuclear power company said they would sign a cooperation agreement to promote clean nuclear technologies in Romania. After entering into the partnership, Romania has the potential for the first deployment of SMR reactors in Europe.

Romania plans to cut carbon emissions by 55% and its dependence on fossil fuel imports to 17.8% from the current 20.8% by 2030. Nuclear power, which accounted for about 20% of electricity generation in 2020 and produced a third of the country’s zero-emission electricity, will play a major role in achieving decarbonization goals.

“Romania will include small modular reactors in power generation by 2028, which will strengthen the partnership with the United States in the civil nuclear field,” This came in a statement by the Romanian presidency.

In March 2019, NuScale and Nuclearelectrica signed a Memorandum of Understanding involving the exchange of commercial and technical information on NuScale nuclear technology to evaluate the development, licensing and construction of the NuScale SMR in Romania.

Model of the Noiskaly Small Modular Reactor. Source: NuScale

According to a White House statement yesterday, the work agreement between NuScale and Nuclearelectrica will include the construction of a six-unit NuScale power plant. According to him, it will initially create more than 3,700 jobs in the United States and Romania with the potential to create up to 30 thousand jobs in both countries.

“Romania’s ground-breaking first step will create significant momentum to reduce emissions across Europe. There are 30 coal-fired power plants in the region, including seven Romanian ones, and SMRs are ideal to replace this primary energy and employ many of the same workforce.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

In January of this year, the nuclear power company received a non-refundable $1.28 million grant from the US Trade and Development Agency, which will be used to identify potential sites in Romania for the site of SMR reactors.

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The United States is also cooperating with Romania in the framework of “classical” nuclear energy.

Romanian nuclear power plant Cernavoda. Source: Nuclear Electricity

Cooperation within the SMR follows the draft intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the expansion and modernization of the Romanian nuclear energy program, which was signed in October 2020 by the US Department of Energy and the Romanian Ministry of Energy. Areas of cooperation included the possible completion of Units 3 and 4 of the Šernavoda Nuclear Power Plant and the reconstruction of Unit 1 of this power plant.

Cernavoda is the only nuclear power plant in Romania, consisting of two pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR) with a total electrical output of 1,300 MW. The first unit went into commercial operation in 1996, and the second in 2007. The nuclear power company plans to extend the service life of the first unit to 60 years.

Most of the work on the four reactors of the Candu-6 power plant was carried out in the 1980s before the fall of the Nicolae Ceausescu government. In July 2020, Romania launched a call for bids for a new feasibility study to complete Units 3 and 4.