Signing of the Support Agreement between the Romanian State and Nuclearelectrica for the development of the National Strategic Project Units 3 and 4 Cernavoda NPP
Bucharest, 9 June 2023
Today, 9 June 2023, the Support Agreement was signed between the Romanian State – the Romanian Government, the General Secretariat of the Government, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transport – and the National Company Nuclearelectrica, for the development of the National Strategic Project Units 3 and 4 Cernavoda NPP.
The signing of the Support Agreement between the Romanian State and Nuclearelectrica for the development of the Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4 Project allows the start of the activities related to Phase II of the Project, namely: the conclusion of the contracts for the development of the critical engineering necessary to update the Project; the updating of the Project budget; the structuring and contracting of the financing and the agreement of an appropriate contractual architecture for the implementation of the Project; the obtaining of the favourable opinion of the European Commission following the notification of the Project according to Art. 41 of the EURATOM Treaty and a positive decision in accordance with the relevant European provisions on State aid; Obtaining the Nuclear Safety Authorisation for the Construction phase and making the Final Investment Decision to proceed to Phase III (Construction).
“The signing of the Support Agreement between the Romanian State and Nuclearelectrica for the development of the Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4 Project shows the firm support of the Romanian State for the development of the Romanian nuclear programme. We thank the Romanian Presidency, the Romanian Government and Parliament, the Secretariat General of the Government, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Finance for their involvement and support in the continuation of this project! Units 3 and 4, which are scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2030 and 2031 respectively, will add another 10TWh of clean, stable and affordable energy to the national energy system, supporting energy security. In addition, the 4 units at Cernavoda will generate about 66% of Romania’s clean energy, with an impact in achieving Romania’s decarbonisation targets. The Units 3 and 4 project is particularly important for Romania’s energy future and consumer protection and, at the same time, a source of pride for the entire Nuclearelectrica team. I congratulate and thank all colleagues involved in the project and in reaching this important milestone, as well as the entire team who contribute every day to keep the company at the highest standards of operation, nuclear safety and productivity” – Cosmin Ghita, CEO, Nuclearelectrica.
By signing the Support Agreement, the Romanian State has committed itself to take the necessary steps to finance the Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4 Project including through: granting state guarantees to the financiers of the project, within the framework of any intergovernmental support agreements or memoranda or outside such agreements; implementing the “Contracts for Difference” scheme and adopting administrative and/or legislative measures to ensure compliance with the technical criteria set out in the European Commission’s Complementary Delegated Act; the contribution in kind by the quantity of heavy water and uranium octoxide related to the first nuclear fuel load, cooling water for the operation of the 2 nuclear units and the completion of the electricity transmission lines necessary for the purpose of connection to the National Energy System and the discharge of the electricity produced in the 2 nuclear units.
The intention of the Romanian State and SNN, in accordance with the new project development strategy, is to carry out this project in a Euro-Atlantic consortium on the basis of the Agreement between the Government of Romania and the Government of the United States of America on cooperation in connection with nuclear power projects at Cernavodă and in the civil nuclear energy sector in Romania.
During COP 27, in November 2022, the US Exim Bank announced the issuance of two letters of interest for the financing of technical services provided by the US in connection with the Cernavoda Units 3 and 4 project, developed by the subsidiary of Societatea Naționala Nuclearelectrica S.A.
Based on the preliminary information presented, EXIM may consider funding up to USD 50 million from the US export contract for pre-project technical services as part of the Engineering Multiplier Program (EMP) in Phase 2 of the project. Subsequently, in Phase III of the project it may consider funding up to USD 3 billion from the US export contract for engineering and project management services for the contract to complete Units 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant.
The Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4 project will be implemented on the basis of the Continuation Strategy, approved by SNN shareholders in 2021, in three stages, in line with international experience in nuclear power plant construction:
Stage 1, starting at the end of 2021, represents the preparatory stage, initiated by the capitalization and operationalization of the project company, Energonuclear S.A. This stage will last up to 24 months, during which time a set of engineering and safety documentation required for the Project start-up will be prepared/updated (updating of basic licensing documents, safety guidelines, project modifications related to nuclear safety, reassessment of existing civil structures, etc.), necessary for the substantiation of a preliminary investment decision.
As part of this phase, on November 25, 2021, Energonuclear S.A., the project company, signed the first contract with Candu Energy, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group and Candu Design Authority and OEM (the original manufacturer of Candu technology) for the Project. Under the contract, CANDU Energy will provide engineering services to develop and update the documentation required for the initiation of the Project for CANDU Units 3 and 4.
Phase 2 of the Project, Preliminary Works – presented above.
Phase 3 of the Project, estimated to take 69-78 months, consists of mobilization of the site, commencement of construction, commissioning and commencement of commercial operation of Unit 3 in 2030 and Unit 4 in 2031.
The National Company “Nuclearelectrica” SA is the national Romanian company which produces electricity, heat and nuclear fuel operating under the authority of the Romanian Ministry of Energy, with the Romanian state holding 82.49% of shares and other shareholders holding 17.50%, after the listing of the company at the stock exchange in 2013.
The NPP (CNE) Cernavoda branch operates two CANDU nuclear units, which are two of the most high-performance units among the more than 400 nuclear plants in the world, a nuclear fuel factory and is in the process of carrying out an integrated fuel cycle through the procurement of a uranium concentrate processing line, in order to support the long-term investment projects of the company.
Nuclearelectrica has a major role at national level, contributing by more than 18% of the nuclear energy in the total energy production and by 33% in the total CO2-free energy production in Romania.