Romania’s Energy Minister Virgil Popescu together with Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy David Turk and Chargé d’Affaires of the US David Muniz have announced the site for the first small modular reactor (SMR) in Romania. It will be installed on the land of the former thermal power plant in Doicesti, Dambovita County.
The site has been identified following an in-depth study conducted with funds of USD 1.2mln received by Nuclearelectrica in early 2021, within a grant provided by USTDA to identify and assess various sites for the implementation of small modular reactors in Romania.
“Today, more than ever, it is proven that energy means security. We undertake to meet our promise of supporting Romania in order to obtain energy independence, as well as that of reaching our decarbonization targets. This is another important step after the announcement made by Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis and by John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate of Biden Administration, at the COP26 Conference, on the intention of the two countries to build in Romania a power plant with small modular reactors. The implementation of the small modular reactor from NuScale on the site in Doicesti will have proven benefits in terms of energy security and environment by generating safe, stable, affordable, and clean, emission-free energy. Moreover, the project will bring direct social and economic benefits to the community it serves and will generate continuous prosperity for the regional industry and economy. I thank our US partners for having supported the nuclear programs in Romania, a strategic bilateral partnership that started in the 1980s. I am proud that the experience exceeding 50 years of Romania in the field of nuclear energy is recognized and confirmed with each step forward, which allows us to become one of the first countries to implement the innovative and safe technology of small nuclear reactors. I also want to assure you that Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, PM Nicolae Ciuca, and the Romanian Government support this project, which will bring numerous benefits to our country,” said Virgil Popescu.
“Nuclearelectrica team, with an experience of over 25 years of operation in conditions of nuclear safety of one of the safest and most performing nuclear power plants in the world, has the necessary expertise, knowledge, and professional skills to get involved with NuScale in the first deployment of a small nuclear reactor in Europe. The development of the first SMR in Romania will confirm the experience of our country and provide a new future for the nuclear energy industry: we will establish a centre of excellence for the nuclear industry in Romania and a hub for the region in terms of components production and assembly and preparing operators for the SMR technology in the region,” added Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghita.
“Following the study, several potential suitable sites have been identified. The site of the former thermal power plant in Doicesti has obtained all the qualifications in terms of security, being considered adequate in this phase according to the design criteria and the principles of security of NuScale small modular reactors,” explained Cosmin Ghita.
“Today’s announcement is a new step forward in the partnership with Nuclearelectrica for developing the NuScale technology of small modular reactors in Romania and to help reach the climate targets, while benefiting from economic growth,” noted John Hopkins, President and CEO of NuScale. “We’re looking forward to working with Nuclearelectrica through the site selection process and demonstrating the benefits of our technology to the people of Romania”.
NuScale SMR technology, the most mature in terms of approvals, being the first and the only SMR technology in the world to have received the approval of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in August 2020, has at the same time the most advanced implementation plans, with contracts already confirmed for the development of its components.
Following the selection of the site, Romania has the potential of implementing the first small modular reactors in Romania and becoming a catalyst for SMR deployment in the region, especially in other countries within the Three Seas Initiative that want to strengthen their energy security with a safe, stable, affordable, and clean energy source, while reaching their decarbonization targets. Being among the first countries to join the quest of energy independence with one of the most advanced nuclear energy technologies, the innovative technology of NuScale small nuclear reactors, Romania will obtain a leading position and multiple social and economic benefits: it has the potential of becoming a base for production support and assembly of SMR components and a training and education centre for future operators and specialists. To this end, Romania will develop the first simulator for the control room of a NuScale SMR in Europe, which will be used to train the new generation of engineers.
The community in Doicesti also has the potential of multiple benefits, while NuScale and Nuclearelectrica are taking steps for deploying in Romania, this decade, the first NuScale power plant with 6 modules of 462 MWe. The NuScale 6-module power plant is estimated to generate 193 permanent jobs, 1,500 jobs in construction, 2,300 jobs in production and help Romania avoid 4M tons of CO2 emissions per year.
In March 2019, Nuclearelectrica and NuScale signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to assess the development, licensing, and construction of a NuScale SMR in Romania.
On October 9, 2020, Romania signed with the US an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in the field of nuclear energy projects, which was also ratified by the Romanian Parliament, under Law No. 1999/2021, with a wide support and adopted by a majority of the votes cast.
Also, in October 2020, US Exim Bank expressed, through a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Ministry of Energy, its interest in financing large investment projects in Romania, including nuclear projects, worth a total of USD 7 billion.
In early 2021, Nuclearelectrica received USTDA funds of USD 1.2 million to identify and assess the potential sites for small modular reactors.
On November 4, 2021, at COP26, NuScale and Nuclearelectrica signed a teaming agreement to advance the deployment of the first small modular reactor in Europe.
These milestones follow a strong relation in nuclear field between Romania and the U.S., which started in 1981 when President Reagan approved the first US Exim loan for the Cernavoda Unit 1 project.
NuScale SMR Technology
In August 2020, NuScale made history as the first and only SMR to receive design approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission – a crucial step towards the construction and deployment of the SMR technology. The company maintains a sustained pace of its program for the commercialization of its SMR technology, including the development of the supply chain, the development of the power plant design, the planning of delivery and commissioning activities. NuScale has already signed contracts with Doosan, Samsung, and GS Energy Corporation to advance in the development of SMR components.
Memoranda of cooperation have already been concluded with companies from various countries, such as: KGHM and PBE, Poland; Energy Holding, Bulgaria; OPG, Prodigy Clean Energy, BWXT, Canada; CEZ, Czech Republic etc. A six-module SMR NuScale project is under development in Utah, USA.
The Bank of Japan’s entry into International Cooperation (JBIC) with a USD 110 million strategic investment in NuScale Power proves international interest and confirms strong confidence in NuScale SMR technology.