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The refurbishment of Unit 1 means another 30 years of operation after 2029, at less than half the costs of a new nuclear reactor. Concretely, it means another 30 years of clean energy, without CO2 emissions.

In terms of costs, and implicitly of the subsequent impact on the market, a NEA-OECD study confirms that the energy produced by extending the lifecycle of nuclear units incurs the lowest cost of all sources, including renewable sources:

Cost of energy:

from a refurbished nuclear power plant: USD 32/MWh

– from wind sources: USD 50/MWh

– from solar panel parks: USD 94/MWh

Cf.: Report on electricity costs, issued in 2020 by the International Energy Agency, in collaboration with the Nuclear Energy Agency.


CANDU reactors have an initial lifecycle of 30 years. Following a refurbishment process, this lifecycle may be extended by another 30 years, which Nuclearelectrica is currently doing with Unit 1, which was commercially started up in 1996.

Unit 2 was started up in 2007, so we can talk about the refurbishment of Unit 2 in 2037.


700 MW


Unit 1 of Cernavoda NPP

  • has delivered 127 million MWh so far, accounting for 9 % of the national consumption in 25 years.

  • has avoided the atmospheric release of 125 million tons of CO2, which represents the equivalent of the emissions generated by all the cars in Romania in over 6 years.

  • 5 million tones of CO2 avoided each year


Phase 1 for the Refurbishment of Unit 1 started in 2017, and was dedicated to identifying and defining the activities necessary for the refurbishment of U1, so that it would operate for another lifecycle of 30 years. The final product of this phase was the drafting of the Feasibility Study, approved in the GMS dated February 23, 2022, with the estimated cost of investment being EUR 1.85 billion.

Phase 2 of the project started upon the approval of the feasibility study and involves ensuring the financial resources for the implementation of the Project for the Refurbishment of U1, preparing the performance of the activities that have been identified and defined for the refurbishment of U1 in Phase 1 and obtaining all the necessary approvals and authorizations for the implementation of this project.

Phase 3 of the project starts upon the shutdown of Unit 1, in the period 2027-2029, and consists of the actual performance of the works in the Project for the Refurbishment of U1, in the installations of the unit, as well as its restart, in order to be commercially operated for a new lifecycle of 30 years, after 2029.




EUR 1.85 billion, without taking into account the financing costs and the update with the inflation rate on the date when the refurbishment contract of Unit 1 of Cernavoda NPP is going to be signed.


The financing structure shall be decided in stage 2 of the project.


30 years of operation starting with 2029

Approx. 5.5 mil MWh clean energy, net delivered on an annual basis in the NES, at the lowest cost of all sources

Hundreds of new jobs

Contributions to the economy


5 million tons of CO2 avoided every year



The project of CANDU Units 3 and 4 is set out in the Energy Strategy of Romania 2019-2030, with perspective of 2050, as well as in the Integrated National Energy and Climate Change Plan, as a pillar of Romania’s energy independence, and of fulfilling all the decarbonization targets undertaken by Romania as a EU Member State.

The intention of the Romanian State and of SNN, according to the new strategy, is to implement this ~2×700 MWe project in a European-Atlantic consortium, in virtue of the Agreement between the Government of Romania and the Government of the United States of America on the cooperation in relation to the nuclear-energy projects at Cernavoda, and in the civil nuclear energy sector of Romania, signed in October 2020 in Washington DC by the governments of USA and Romania, subsequently approved by EC and ratified by the Parliament of Romania in July 2021. Also, there is interest from USA, by US Exim, to finance Romanian energy projects, including nuclear, with 7 billion dollars.

Romania needs new electricity production capabilities as a solution for the transition to an economy with low carbon emissions, while providing simultaneously stability, safety, availability in the NES, as well as social and economic benefits. The Project for Units 3 and 4 of Cernavoda NPP has all the premises to provide all these benefits.

With the implementation of the project, the contribution of nuclear power in the total energy production, at national level, will be of 36 %, and the contribution of nuclear power in the total energy production without CO2 emissions of 66 %, at the same time with the development of the internal supply chain, and other collateral industries.

The Romanian nuclear industry has the experience and capability to participate, with important works and service,s in the new project at Cernavoda, experience acquired already from the commissioning and providing the maintenance for the two nuclear units.


Construction of 2 more CANDU 6 units on the site of the Cernavoda NPP


700 MW/Unit; 1400 MW/2 units



Stage 1, the current one, started at the end of 2021, represents the preparatory stage, which initiated by capitalizing and operationalizing the project company, Energonuclear S.A. This stage will last for 24 months, during which services of technical, legal and financial support will be contracted, as well as engineering services for updating the technical procurement Specification, launching and assigning the EPC contract (Engineering, Procurement and Construction), and the performance of the necessary studies and assessments, required to substantiate a preliminary decision on making the investment.

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 the Authority for Designing Units 3 and 4 and OEM Candu (the Original Manufacturer of the Candu Technology). Within the contract, CANDU Energy will provide engineering services for drafting and updating the necessary documentation for initiating the Project of Units CANDU 3 and 4 (among which, updating the main licensing documents, updating the nuclear security guides, updating the list of project modifications with nuclear security functions, etc.).

Stage 2 of the project (Preliminary Works) consists of performing preliminary works from Phase 1 of the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contract, and will last for 18-24 months. This stage will involve the performance of engineering works and analyses of the markets regarding the suppliers of equipment and the providers of services that are necessary for implementing the project, so that at the end of this stage, the Project feasibility is refined. Also in this stage, the documentations for obtaining permits and approvals will be submitted, including from the European Commission, in virtue of Article 41 of the Euroatom Treaty. At the end of this stage, the feasibility of the Project will be re-analyzed based on the new technical-economic indicators, and the Final Investment Decision will be made, which will allow the Project to move to Stage 3.

Stage 3 of the project actually consists of performing the building, assembly and startup works at the site, stage estimated to last 69-78 months. It is estimated that Unit 3 will be commissioned in 2030, with the commissioning of Unit 4 to follow in 2031.


Unit 3-2030

Unit 4-2031


7 billion EURO


The financing structure shall be decided in stage 2


66 % contribution of clean energy, at national level

Over 19,000 jobs in the industry


5 million tons of CO2 avoided/unit/year

20 million tons of CO2 avoided/4 units/year



Romania has the potential of implementing small modular reactors, and becoming a catalyst for the development of SMR in the region, and also a base for ensuring the operation of this new type of technology in other states. For this purpose, we will develop the first simulator for the control room of a modular reactor, which we will use for training the new generation of engineers.

In this regard, in November 2021, Nuclearelectrica and NuScale Power signed an agreement in order to advance the implementation of the innovative technology of the small modular reactors of NuScale, in Romania, in this decade.

This agreement follows a MoU concluded in 2019 with NuScale and a grant of 1.2 million dollars granted by USTDA to SNN for assessing potential sites.

Romania has over 25 years of experience in safely operating one of the highest-performing power plants in the world, and a team of professional engineers, a globally-renowned local school of engineers, and a vast supply chain.

Approximately 70 concepts of SMR reactors are in progress, in various stages, with technological differences, a different implementation level, as well as various licensing levels, which proves the interest and innovation in this field, and the efforts of regulatory agencies to license the SMR reactor. Countries such as France, UK, Poland, Bulgaria, USA and Canada are making intense efforts to implement SMRs. However, NuScale is the first SMR reactor which has received the design approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and will follow all the necessary steps for obtaining the license in EU and in the countries that are interested in implementing it.


Small modular reactors (SMRs) are advanced nuclear reactors that have an installed capacity of up to 300 Mwe/reactor, which means approximately a third of the capacity of a gigawatt reactor. A small modular reactor from NuScale has an installed capacity of 77 Mwe and can be used in plants of 4, 6 or 12 modules, as needed.

In virtue of the Agreement between SNN and NuScale, NuScale will support Nuclearelectrica in assessing this technology and, together, the two companies will take measures for developing the small nuclear reactors in Romania.


6 modules with an installed capacity of 462 Mwe



Based on the analyses related to the implementation of a nuclear project, including site analyses, the implementation stages will be determined.

NuScale’s nuclear technology will mainly be developed on the sites of former coal-fired power plants. Thus, it will support the National Recovery and Resilience Plan of the Government of Romania to decommission 4.59 GWe of coal capacity by 2032.

In terms of the energy produced, a NuScale power plant is similar to an existing coal-fired power plant and can be built on the same site, and can reuse the existing transportation infrastructure, which makes it an ideal solution for replacing a coal-fired power plant.


This decade


It will be estimated following the preliminary stage of project configuration


It will be estimated following the preliminary stage of project configuration


A NuScale power plant with 6 modules will generate 193 permanent jobs, 1500 jobs during the construction period, 2300 jobs in manufacturing.


4 million tons of CO2 every year



The project is part of Nuclearelectrica’s portfolio of initiatives, aimed at the consistent implementation of the Company’s general policy, namely the concern for maintaining nuclear safety at the highest standards, and reducing both radiological risks for own staff and the public, as well as the environmental impact. The project represents a materialization at the highest level of the continuous concerns to improve the performance of the Cernavoda NPP with a positive impact on the staff and leading to a decrease in tritium discharges in the air and in the water, with a positive impact on the protection of the population and the environment.


The implementation of the project will allow, by extracting the tritium from the heavy water, and storing it under a safe form in a dedicated facility, the elimination of heavy tritiated water from the category of radioactive waste, thus significantly reducing the quantity of radioactive waste left to be managed at the end of the operational life of the two reactors.

The project is based on an implementation strategy, updated by SNN in 2018, based on the Feasibility Study, approved by Decision No. 9/August 22, 2018 of the Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders.

The project involves the completion of the design of the facility (detail design), the construction of the tritium removal facility, tests and verifications for commissioning, a trial operation period of 6 months, followed by the entry of the plant into commercial operation, planned for 2026.

To finance the project, SNN has engaged in discussions with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). These debates are at an advanced stage, which is why, in addition to the evaluations and supporting documentation specific to the Romanian legislation, already initiated (in relation to the Ministry of Environment, Romanian Waters, CNCAN, etc.), it is also necessary to go through a specific EBRD approval procedure.


  • Award of execution contract (EPC) – 2022

  • Starting the contracting of equipment with long manufacturing cycle, based on the detail design – 2022

  • Obtaining permits and starting the construction-assembly works – 2023

  • Commissioning the facility – 2024

  • Trial operation – 2025

  • Transfer to operation – 2026.


EUR 194 million, of which EUR 150 million through EBRD loan


EUR 150 million through EBRD loan


The realization of CTRF will have a positive impact because by extracting the tritium from the moderator, and the cooling agent of the reactor, it will contribute to the reduction of the tritium discharges in the environment and will allow for the heavy water to be reused for an indefinite period, without becoming a radioactive waste. The tritium recovered from the cooling agent and the moderator will be processed and stored under stable conditions for further use. In addition, CTRF will lead to:

  • reducing the risks of generating radioactive effluents and tritium emissions in the environment

  • decreasing the concentrations of tritium in the radioactive waste generated inside the nuclear systems that use heavy water at Cernavoda NPP.



The shareholders of SNN approved by GMS Resolution No. 5/April 25, 2018, the “Strategy for diversifying sources of raw material supply needed to produce nuclear fuel”, and implicitly, the gradual transition from the purchase of uranium dioxide (UO2) to the purchase of uranium technical concentrate (U3O8), the measures also including the identification of a solution to ensure the processing/refining capacity of the uranium technical concentrate (U3O8), i.e., the raw material from which the sintering uranium dioxide powder (UO2), necessary for the manufacture of nuclear fuel bundles, is obtained. Through specific studies and optimal conditions for the purchase of uranium technical concentrate, SNN considered processing it at the Feldioara Factory with the uranium technical concentrate processing line being taken over by SNN from CNU.


In financial year 2021, the National Company Nuclearelectrica S.A. (“SNN”) signed with CNU the contract for the sale and purchase of assets within the uranium concentrate processing line at the Feldioara Branch of the CNU on March 18, 2021, following the approval of the transaction and mandating the executive management of SNN to sign this transaction by the Resolutions of the Board of Directors of SNN and the approval in the General Meeting of Shareholders of CNU.


The scope of the transaction consists only of assets (land, buildings, special constructions, installations, machinery and equipment).

The acquisition of some assets of the Feldioara Branch is structured in two different stages: Contract execution date, stage which took place on March 18, 2021, and Completion Date, when the transfer of ownership will occur, and the payment will be made in compliance with the contractual provisions. Between the two stages, a series of prerequisites are foreseen, which depend to a large extent on the support of CNU. Thus, on the date of execution, the general terms and conditions of the transaction were agreed, and the prerequisites were established. On the completion date, the immovable asset sale-purchase contract and the movable asset sale-purchase contract will be signed in authentic form, based on the terms and conditions established on the date of execution.

The prerequisites mainly consider the transmission and issuance by the competent authorities of the necessary transfer authorizations, permits and approvals, as well as the clarification by CNU of certain aspects related to the performance of the asset transfer.


The strategic decision to acquire part of Feldioara’s assets necessary for the processing of the raw material was aimed at ensuring integrated production capabilities within SNN and, to an equal extent, ensuring the production of fuel bundles and the optimal operation of Pitesti NFP and Cernavoda NPP, in the context of expanding the capacity of the nuclear power plant, and maintaining the nuclear fuel cycle at national level, at an advantageous transaction cost, as well as reducing the reliance on a single supplier.