EU blesses Romania’s $8bn US nuclear deal

The European Commission has approved an agreement between the governments of the US and Romania to add two reactors to the Cernavoda nuclear power plant, ending longstanding plans to enlist Chinese aid in the project.

Ludovic Orban, the prime minister of Romania, announced the endorsement on Friday. "We are delighted that we received this agreement from the Directorate of Energy, which will allow us to sign the agreement in the final form," he said.

Romania and the US signed an intergovernmental agreement in October for an $8bn programme of works to refurbish reactor 1 and build reactors 3 and 4 at the Black Sea plant (see further reading).

The two also agreed a memorandum of understanding whereby America’s Export-Import Bank would provide $7bn of loans for the development of nuclear and related projects.

In 2013 Romania and China signed two agreements that assigned China General Nuclear (CGN) a leading role in building and financing the reactors. This was followed by a deal in May 2019 between Romania’s state nuclear company Nuclearelectrica and CGN to build two 700MW reactors.

Romania changed course at the start of this year as the Trump administration intensified its criticisms of China.

The project will be coordinated by Aecom and will involve a consortium of companies from the US, Romania, Canada, and France to install two Canadian Candu 6 reactors.

Romania and France have signed a declaration of intent on civil nuclear cooperation, and Orano, a state-owned French engineer, has also agreed to work with Nuclearelectrica on the project.

Image: Romanian energy minister Virgil Popescu shaking on the October agreement with Kimberly Reed, president of the US Export-Import Bank (Nuclearelectrica)

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