Investors agree on Cernavoda 3 and 4 project company

20 November 2008

Representatives from the seven companies investing in the construction of units 3 and 4 at Romania's Cernavoda nuclear power plant have signed an agreement specifying what share in the project they will each hold.

Cernavoda NPP [AECL] 
Romania's Cernavoda plant (Image: AECL)
The partners have agreed to establish a project company - to be named EnergoNuclear SA - in March 2009 to construct, commission and operates the two new units. Under the new agreement, the share held by each investor in the project company has now been agreed, and, correspondingly, what proportion of financing and share of the power generated each will take.

Romania's state-owned Nuclearelectrica SA will hold a 51% stake in the company, while Czech utility CEZ, Belgium's Electrabel (part of GDF-Suez), Italy's Enel and Germany's RWE Power will each hold a 9.15% stake. In addition, Spain's Iberdrola and global steel producer ArcelorMittal will each hold a 6.2% stake in the project company.

In March 2008, a draft investment agreement, including the charter of the new project company, proposed the following shares: Nuclearelectrica 20%, Enel 15%, Electrabel 15%, RWE Power 15%, CEZ 15%, Iberdrola 10% and ArcelorMittal 10%. However, the Romanian government later decided that Nuclearelectrica would take a 51% stake.

The project is to be conducted in two stages. The pre-project phase will last about 18 months and during which preparatory work will be conducted. This will involve the development of technical and commercial specifications, calls for bids, engineering documentation, sit works and evaluation of tenders for the general contractor. At the same time, the investors will finalise arrangements relating to the construction, long-term operation and financing of the two new Cernavoda units.

The project stage itself is expected to cost some €4 billion ($5 billion) and to take about six years to complete, depending on a favourable decision by the investors.

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 720 MWe Candu reactors, will be a similar design to Cernavoda unit 2. The new units are scheduled to start up in 2014 and 2015, respectively.