Draft agreement finalized for Romanian reactors

07 March 2008

Negotiations have been completed for six European utility companies to partner Romania's Nuclearelectrica SA in a joint venture to complete and operate two new units at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania.

Cernavoda (Image: AECL)
The six companies that will be developing and operating units 3 and 4 at the site in southeast Romania are ArcelorMittal, CEZ, Electrabel, Enel, Iberdrola and RWE Power. All have been involved in three months of negotiations on the project, culminating with the agreement to set up a new company dedicated to the completion, commissioning and operation of the units. Subject to Romanian government approval, the so-called Project Company is expected to be registered in May 2008, says state-owned Nuclearelectrica.

Iberdrola says it will have at least a 10% share of the joint venture, which will have an initial equity of €30 million ($46 billion) and will hold title to the assets and operating licence as well as being responsible for the construction and operation of the units. The Spanish utility says that as well as securing its growth strategy in Europe, the move will allow it to "complete its portfolio of nuclear generation technologies" by incorporating the Candu reactor.


The Cernavoda plant was originally intended to host five Canadian Candu pressurized heavy water reactors of 633 MWe each. Construction on units 2-5 was halted in 1991 in order to concentrate on unit 1, which entered commercial operation at the end of 1996. It now provides 10% of the country's electricity. The government decided to resume work on unit 2 in 2000. After some upgrades during completion, unit 2 is rated at 655 MWe and began commercial operation in October 2007.

Cernavoda 3 and 4, both 750 MW CANDUs, will be a similar design to Cernavoda unit 2. The new units are slated to start up in 2014 and 2015, respectively.