US offers $3bn to support Romania’s nuclear expansion

US Export-Import Bank president Reta Jo Lewis and Romanian energy minister Virgil Popescu show the letters of interest to the press at Sharm el Sheikh (Courtesy of Export-Import Bank)
The United States’ Export-Import Bank has signalled interest in offering $3.05bn to support American involvement in building two more reactors at Cernavoda, Romania’s only nuclear power station.

Bank president Reta Jo Lewis unveiled two letters of interest to Romanian utility Nuclearelectricta on Wednesday at the COP27 conference in Egypt.

Nuclearelectrica said the finance would be divided into $50m for pre-project technical services and up to $3bn for engineering and project management services.

The letters follow a memorandum of understanding, signed in October 2020, in which Exim expressed an interest in offering up to €8bn in financial support for Romanian energy projects. The move ended previous plans to hire China General Nuclear to build the reactors (see further reading).

Cernavoda presently operates two Candu 6 reactors at Cernavoda. Nuclearelectrica wants to add two Candu 9s by 2031. Candu is a Canadian-designed pressurised heavy water reactor.

Romanian president Klaus Iohannis his country’s plans to be energy self-sufficient depended on expanding nuclear and renewable capacity.

He also expressed an interest in small modular reactors, an emerging market for which a number of US companies are developing products.

The Export-Import Bank assists US exports with credit insurance, working capital guarantees, loan guarantees and direct loans.

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