Cernavoda 1 refurb project framework agreement signed

12 June 2024

Romania's Nuclearelectrica and Canadian Nuclear Partners have signed a long-term framework agreement to provide project management services for the refurbishment of Cernavoda nuclear power plant's unit 1.

(Image: Nuclearelectrica)

The agreement has an estimated value of EUR240 million (USD260 million) and will see Canadian Nuclear Partners - a subsidiary of the state-owned Ontario Power Generation - provide project management services, technical assistance, consulting services, relevant training and "organisation and coordination of unit 1’s commissioning, up to its return to commercial operation".

Speaking at the event in Bucharest, Ontario Minister of Energy Stephen Lecce said: "We are proud to partner with Romania to deliver this major refurbishment that is going to support energy security in Europe while creating new economic opportunities for workers in both of our countries.” His predecessor in that role and current Ontario Education Minister, Todd Smith, said: "The world is watching as Ontario continues to deliver multi-billion-dollar Candu nuclear refurbishment projects on time and on budget."

Cosmin Ghita, Nuclearelectrica CEO, looked forward to "highly professional and robust project management, with combined Canadian and Romanian experience, enabling Romania to benefit from clean, safe, and reliable energy for another 30 years beyond 2029 ... Romania and Canada have been working together for more than 50 years in the nuclear industry and continue to do so by fostering strategic projects to advance energy security, decarbonisation and economic development".

Jason Van Wart, CEO of Canadian Nuclear Partners, said: "We are pleased to leverage our decades of experience with Canadian-made Candu technology to help deliver the unit 1 refurbishment project on time and on budget and demonstrate how Canadian nuclear experts can support clean energy projects in other parts of the world."

Cernavoda is the only nuclear power plant in Romania and consists of two 650 MWe Candu reactors. Unit 1 went into commercial operation in 1996 and unit 2 in 2007. Nuclearelectrica plans to extend the operating life of unit 1 to 60 years. 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.

The unit 1 refurbishment project began in 2017 and is currently in the second of three phases. This phase, due to last from February 2022 to 2026, covers providing the financial resources, negotiating and granting engineering, procurement and construction contracts, assessing, preparing and scheduling the activities to be carried and obtaining all the authorisations and approvals necessary to start the project. The third phase, scheduled for 2027 to 2029, starts with the shutdown of unit 1 and includes all the work required on it and its recommissioning.

Candu units are pressurised heavy water reactors designed to operate for 30 years, with a further 30 years available subject to refurbishment. This includes the replacement of key reactor components such as steam generators, pressure tubes, calandria tubes and feeder tubes. It involves removing all the reactor's fuel and heavy water and isolating it from the rest of the power station before it is dismantled. Thousands of components, including those that are not accessible when the reactor is assembled, are inspected, and all 480 fuel channels and 960 feeder tubes are replaced during the high-precision rebuild.

A multinational consortium was formed in October 2023 for the work, involving Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Canada's Candu Energy and Italy's Ansaldo Nucleare to jointly carry out the refurbishment.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News