Candu Energy, an SNC-Lavalin Group company, said the 2.5-year contract is to provide engineering and early procurement services for retubing work to replace key components of the reactor core including fuel channels, pressure tubes and feeders. The work will help extend the reactor’s operating life to 2060.
Cernavodă-1 is a 650-MW Candu 6 unit. Candu Energy is the original equipment manufacturer for the Candu reactor technology. The plant supplies 10% of Romania’s electricity, SNC-Lavalin said.
Candu units are pressurised heavy water reactors designed to operate for 30 years, with a further 30 years available subject to refurbishment. Cernavodă-1 began commercial operation in December 1996.
Candu Energy’s refurbishment work at Cernavodă will draw on experience gained from work on the Point Lepreau, Darlington and Bruce nuclear power stations in Canada, Wolsong in South Korea and Embalse in Argentina.
The decision to renovate Cernavodă’s two units – the only commercial nuclear plants in Romania – was approved in 2013. The Cernavodă-1 project, which started in 2017, is being implemented in three phases with the first phase lasting until later this year.
Nuclearelectrica is planning to refurbish Cernavodă-2, but it is nine years younger than Unit 1 and work has not yet been scheduled.
According to Nuclearelectrica, the two reactors at Cernavodă provide 18% of the country’s electricity production and 33% of its emissions-free electricity.
Romania also wants to complete two additional Candu units at the site.
Last year, Cosmin Ghita, Nuclearelectrica’s chief executive officer, said the construction of two new units at Cernavodă will cost €7bn with an investment decision and mobilisation at the construction site estimated for 2024.
Romania is also consuidering the deployment of small modular reactors. In May, US-based NuScale signed an agreement with Nuclearelectrica to conduct engineering studies, technical reviews, and licensing activities at a site in Doicesti, south-central Romania that is the preferred location for the deployment of what could be the first SMR in Europe.