The development of new nuclear units in Romania has been discussed since 2003. The feasibility study conducted by Deloitte & Touche and submitted to the Board of Directors of SNN SA, in March 2006, identified the setting up of a Project Company made up of local and foreign investors as an optimal solution for the completion of the Cernavoda NPP’s Units 3 and 4.
The Romanian Government demonstrated their commitment to this project when, in a press release, on 14 September 2006, they announced the building of two new nuclear units in Romania.
Units 3 and 4 have been under preservation since 1992. Total completion ratio: Unit 3 is almost 15% completed while Unit 4 is 14% completed, which means, mainly, civil works performed to the Reactor Building, Turbine Building and Service Building.
The Decision No. 643/2007 of the Romanian Government approved the strategy for attracting investors for the Cernavoda NPP’s Units 3 and 4, including the schedule for setting up a new company responsible for this project completion. Following the tenders submission, six companies were selected to carry out the project. After rounds of negotiations with the selected investors, which took place between December 2007 and November 2008, the Romanian Government approved, through Decision No. 1565/2008, the Investors Agreement and the Articles of Association, whereby each investor receives a percentage of the total number of shares, proportionally to the invested capital: Nuclearelectrica (51%), ArcelorMittal Romania (6.2%), CEZ, Czech Republic (9.15%), GDF SUEZ Belgium (9.15%), ENEL, Italy (9.15%), Iberdrola Spain (6.2%), and RWE Power Germany (9.15%).
On March 29, 2009, the project company was registered as S.C. EnergoNuclear S.A. with the National Trade Register Office and the management team was appointed. EnergoNuclear is a public-private capital company.
Important project achievements:
– In November 2010, the European Commission issued a positive opinion on the project, in accordance with the provisions of Art. 43 of the EURATOM Treaty which confirms the application of EU technical and nuclear safety criteria in force.
– During 2010–2011, a detailed technical evaluation of the on-site buildings was performed, leading to the conclusion that they can be used for the project continuation;
– Continuation of technical and commercial negotiations with the representatives of the consortium formed by SNC Lavalin (Canada), Ansaldo Nucleare (Italy) and Elcomex IEA (Romania) for the “Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning Contract for the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant’s Units 3 and 4”;
– In May 2012, CNCAN issued the Comfort Letter which stipulated that the project is autorizable;
– In September 2012 the project feasibility study was completed, proving the project technical and economical feasibility.
– On 25th of September 2013, the Ministry of Environment issued the Environment Agreement for the “Continuation of the construction and completion works of Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4”.
In 2011, th investors GDF SUEZ, CEZ, RWE and Iberdrola withdrew from the project, motivating their decision through the necesity to concentrate their investments in their home countries, in the context of the financial crisis.
Following the put option exercised by the remaining investors (ENEL and ArcelorMittal), in December 2013, SN Nuclearelectrica SA is, currenlty, the sole shareholders of the project company EnergoNuclear SA.
On 22.08.2014, the General Meeting of Shareholders approved the Strategy for the continuation of the Project Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4 through the launch of a competitive selection procedure for a private investor in view of establishing a joint venture. The selection procedure was launched in 27.08.2014, and the qualification phase was completed on 09.09.2014 when China General Nuclear Power Corporation is declared as qualified investor. After the analysis of the Documentation of Intent (the expertise of the investor with similar projects, the financial capability, the degree of adherence of the Qualified Investor to the Memorandum for the implementation of the Project, proposed by SNN, as well as to the Strategy), CGN was declared a selected investor on 17.10.2014 by the signing of a Joint Letter on the Intention to complete the Project.
On 22.10.2015, the shareholders of SNN approved the Memorandum of Understanding for the development, construction, operation and decommissioning of Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4, which was signed between the parties on 09.11.2015. At present, SNN and CGN are in the negotiation process of the Investors Agreement and the Articles of Incorporation of the new project company.
On 17.10.2016, the shareholders of SNN approved the continuation of the negotiations on the Investment Documents under the same conditions as provided by the Memorandum of Understanding for the development, construction, operation and decommissioning of Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4 (“MoU”), until 20 December 2016, with the application of all the MoU provisions, including the possibility of each party to cease the MoU without any compensations by means of a simple written notification to the other Party, in case an agreement regarding the Investment Documents is not reached and to the extent to which the delay was not caused by the respective Party. Following the negotiations related to the last phase of the Selection Procedure which regarded the Investors Agreement and the Articles of Incorporation of the new project company, a series of clear aspects were established regarding the attributions and responsibilities of the companies involved, SNN and China General Nuclear Power Corporation. On December 21st 2016, the Ministry of Energy issued a press release informing that, considering the complexity of the project and the long term engagement of the Romanian state, it considers that the best approach is to allow the new government to analyze the decisions regarding the result of the negotiations and the upcoming steps.
In January 2017, the Interministerial Commission approved the continuation of negotiations on the investment documents, initiating the process of obtaining the approvals from the Romanian Government and SNN shareholders. On 24 August 2017, the General Meeting of SNN Shareholders approved the continuation of negotiations under the same conditions as the Memorandum, for an additional period of 6 months and empowered the Board of Directors to approve the terms and conditions of the negotiations. During September-October 2017, several rounds of negotiations took place on the investment documents.
During the EGMS of 12.06.2020, the items introduced on the agenda by the majority shareholder, the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment were approved, as follows:
- The abrogation of the Strategy for the continuation of Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4 project through the organization of an investor selection procedure (2014) as well as the revised Strategy for the continuation of Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4 project through an investor selection procedure (2018).
- The empowerment of the SNN Board of Directors to initiate the procedures/undertakings/actions regarding the ceasing of the negotiations with CGN, as well as the ceasing of the legal effects (through party agreement, denunciation etc) of the following documents: “The Memorandum of Understanding regarding the development, construction, operation and decommissioning of Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4 (MoU), and respectively of the (ii) Investors Agreement in preliminary form.”
- The empowerment of the SNN Board of Directors to initiate the necessary undertakings for the analysis and crystallization of the strategic options regarding the construction of additional nuclear energy production capacities.
With respect to future actions, namely the endeavors to continue the Project Units 3 and 4, in compliance with the legal obligations of SNN as a listed company and those of the Articles of Incorporation, SNN will inform and subject to the approval of the shareholders any such actions, in full transparency in compliance with the duties of the administrative bodies of SNN.
On October 9, 2020, Romania and the United States of America initialized an extended Intergovernmental agreement for cooperation in relation to strategic projects for Romania such as Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4, the refurbishment of Unit 1 as well as in other civil nuclear projects.