Canada offers CAD3 billion finance for nuclear in Romania

20 September 2023

The Canadian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson has announced CAD3 billion (USD2.2 billion) of export financing to Nuclearelectrica to support the building of two CANDU-6 reactors at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania.

There are two operating CANDU-6 reactors at Cernavoda (Image: Nuclearelectrica)

The agreement was announced by Wilkinson alongside Sebastian Burduja, Romania's Energy Minister, in Ottowa. He said it would support energy security and boost the fight against climate change in Romania as well as "further support Canadian jobs and business activity in Romania's nuclear sector".

The Globe and Mail said Wilkinson had said the financing offer was for up to CAD3 billion for Romania’s national nuclear operator to buy supplies or services from Canadian companies, with the funds coming partly from Export Development Canada and partly from the Canada Account, which supports export financing deemed to be in Canada’s national interest.

In a statement released to announce the financing, Wilkinson said: "The new Cernavoda reactors will leverage Canadian CANDU technology to deliver clean and reliable power to communities while contributing to Canada's efforts to support European energy security. Canadian nuclear expertise will continue to play an important role in helping the world accelerate to a clean and secure energy future."

Burduja said: "Our countries' bilateral relations go way back. In the 1970s, Romania took the historical decision to be the only country behind the Iron Curtain to develop a nuclear programme based on Western technology and the only European country to choose CANDU technology (Canadian deuterium uranium) for its nuclear programme. As the current geopolitical context has shown, this was the best decision that Romania could have taken at that time.

"From that point onward, the cooperation between our countries has only grown stronger. I am proud to reaffirm today our unwavering commitment to a long-term and prosperous cooperation between our countries in the nuclear field. I also underline Romania's full support for the development of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant, with two new units using CANDU technology and our commitment to treat this strategic national security project with the highest priority."

Canada's Minister of Export Promotion, International trade and Economic Development, Mary Ng, said: "Canada's participation in this clean energy project will strengthen our reputation as a priority energy partner in Europe and beyond. This project will create good jobs for Canadians and Romanians alike. This will further support Canada's economic growth by encouraging greater partnerships between Canadian and Romanian nuclear industries, especially partnerships between our small businesses and entrepreneurs."

Cernavoda is the only nuclear power plant in Romania and consists of two 650 MWe pressurised heavy-water reactors. Unit 1 went into commercial operation in 1996 and unit 2 in 2007. Most of the work on units 3 and 4 - like units 1 and 2, CANDU-6 reactors - was done in the 1980s prior to the fall of the government of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989.

In June a support agreement was signed between the Romanian government and Nuclearelectrica allowing the start of the next phase of the project to complete units 3 and 4 at Cernavoda. Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghita said units 3 and 4 were due to enter commercial operation in 2030 and 2031, respectively. The project is estimated at costing USD7 billion, with Romania's government and Nuclearlectrica seeking to complete it via a European-Atlantic consortium. In October 2022, Romania said Canada and the USA were both offering to help with the financing of the construction of Cernavoda 3 and 4.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News