Romania adds Canada to its Cernavoda team

06 August 2021

Romania and Canada have agreed to strengthen cooperation in nuclear energy in a key move enabling the completion, refurbishment and possible expansion of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Bucharest yesterday follows similar agreements with the USA and France.

Romanian minister of mineral resources Virgin Popescu and Canadian Ambassador to Romania Annick Goulet shake hands following the signing of the MoU (Image: Romanian energy ministry)

"I am glad that in our project of modernisation and construction of new nuclear reactors, in addition to the partners from the USA and France, we are joined by the Canadian partners, with whom we have a very good and long collaboration in this field," said Romanian minister of mineral resources Virgin Popescu. He signed the MoU with Canadian Ambassador to Romania Annick Goulet, who was standing in for Seamus O'Regan, the minister for natural resources. Goulet said, "Nuclear cooperation has been a pillar of the 55-year relationship between Canada and Romania."

Romania has long wanted to complete two additional Candu units at the Cernavoda plant, and is also making plans to refurbish the two operational Candus there for longer service lives. Since January 2020, it has been assembling an international team to complete the work, and the text of the MoU with Canada includes explicit provision to set up multilateral discussions between several governments jointly implementing work at Cernavoda.

Romanian prime minister Florin Cîțu attended the signing. "The investments are vital," he said, "and I am glad that the Canadian partners are joining the American partners in order to develop the nuclear field in our country." Romania signed cooperation agreements with the USA and with France in October 2020.

"I wanted to be present at this event to show that I support the development of nuclear energy projects in Cernavoda and those in the civil nuclear energy sector in Romania," Cîțu added.

The MoU prioritised Candu work but also included passages on several other areas, including: integration of the countries' nuclear supply chains; strengthening Romania's nuclear supply chain; developing a highly skilled, mobile and adaptable workforce; production of medical isotopes using Candu technology; hydrogen production; and discussion towards cooperation on small modular reactors.

Cernavoda is Romania's only nuclear power plant. It has two operational Candu-6 units that provide up to 20% of the country's electricity. As well as completion of units 3 and 4, Nuclearelectrica is working with Candu Energy, part of Canada's SNL-Lavalin Group, towards extending the operational life of unit 1 until 2026 when it would undergo a full refurbishment. Similar work has been completed, or is in progress, at several Canadian Candu units.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News