Fuel loading at Cernavoda 2

19 February 2007

The first bundle of nuclear fuel has been loaded into Cernavoda 2. This first stage in active commissioning makes the Romanian unit an official nuclear site and paves the way for commercial operation this September.

The plant's owner, Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica, has announced that the process of fuel loading started on 15 February. The manual loading of 4560 fuel bundles, amounting to 100 tonnes of uranium, would take a period of ten days. The reactor's heavy water moderator would then be added to the primary circuit at the end of February, with first criticality planned for 25 April, according to Minister of Economy and Trade, Varujan Vosganian.

Both the plant's natural uranium fuel and heavy water were manufactured in Romania, at the Pitesti and Drobeta-Turnu Severin plants respectively.

Cernavoda 2 is a 655 MWe pressurized heavy water reactor of AECL's Candu 6 design. It is one of five similar units begun at Cernavoda under the regime of Nicolae Ceaucescu during the 1970s and early 1980s. Their construction was halted in the years following his overthrow and has subsequently been recommenced by Nuclearelectrica.
  • Unit 1 has been in commercial operation since December 1997. It produces about 10% of Romania's electricity and 60% of its heat consumption.
  • Unit 2 is in the commissioning stage.
  • Units 3 and 4 are to be completed in parallel, following the recomendations of a 2006 study. Interested contractors have supplied some 15 Letters of Interest, of which 12 are under further discussion in the process assembly of a private project company to begin the work in 2008.
  • There are no plans to complete unit 5 as yet.
Further information

Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica

WNA's Nuclear Power in Romania information paper