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Romania / Canada Announces CAD 3 Billion Financing For Two New Candu Reactors at Cernavodă

By David Dalton
21 September 2023

European country aiming to phase out coal by 2032

Canada Announces CAD 3 Billion Financing For Two New Candu Reactors at Cernavodă
Cernavodă is Romania’s only commercial nuclear power station. Courtesy Nuclearelectrica.

Canada has announced CAD3bn (€2bn, $2.2bn) in export financing to Romania’s state nuclear operator Nuclearelectrica towards the construction of two Candu reactors at the Cernavodă nuclear power station.

Natural Resources Canada, the government department responsible for energy, said the investment will support further Canadian jobs and business activity in Romania’s nuclear sector.

It said the construction of the two Candu-6 reactors will support economic activity across Canada’s nuclear sector and broader power sector while driving down emissions and helping Romania phase out coal power by 2032.

Natural Resources Canada said Candu-6 reactors could supply 36% of Romania’s total electricity needs, up from the current 21%.

The Cernavodă nuclear station, in the southeast of the country near the border with Bulgaria, is Romania’s only commercial nuclear power station. It has two existing 605-MW Candu-6 plants that began commercial operation in 1996 and 2007. The International Atomic Energy Agency put the share of electricity production in 2022 at 19.3%.

Candu nuclear plants are a Canadian pressurised heavy-water reactor technology. The two existing Cernavodă units were supplied by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) and built under the supervision of a Canadian-Italian consortium of AECL and Ansaldo.

Romania Can Be ‘Regional Energy Hub’

The project for two additional units will unlock Romania’s potential to become a regional hub for secure energy in the face of Russian energy intimidation, Natural Resources Canada said.

“Russia’s brutal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine has underscored the need for Romania and other European countries to reduce continental reliance on Russian energy while maximising their energy security,” it said.

“In this regard, Canada is stepping up to support Europe’s energy future in the face of supply shortages, while advancing shared priorities.”

Romania has been planning two additional units at Cernavodă for some time. In 2020 Nuclearelectrica terminated an agreement signed with China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) for the plants.

Neither Nuclearelectrica nor the government said why Romania cancelled the deal with state-controlled CGN.

Press reports in Romania said CGN had been criticised by Romania’s “strategic partners” over security issues tied to the use of Chinese technology. Reports also said there had been “cost concerns” related to the project.

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