The President and Chair of the US EXIM Bank, Reta Jo Lewis, presented Letters of Interest (LoI) regarding the financing of the construction of two new units of the Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant (NPP)to the Romanian Minister of Energy, Virgil Popescu at a ceremony during the ongoing COP27 conference.
Senior US and Romanian officials – including the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis and the Special Representative of the President of the United States of America for Climate, John Kerry – joined Ms Lewis and Mr Popescu at the ceremony.
“These funding lines will be supported through the support agreement discussed with the Romanian Government,” said Energy Minister Popescu. “It is an extremely important step in the realisation of the Agreement between the Government of Romania and the Government of the United States of America regarding cooperation in connection with the nuclear-energy projects from Cernavodă and in the civil nuclear energy sector in Romania.”
“At the same time, through today’s announcement, the US gives a strong political signal that it financially supports the development of Romania’s civil nuclear program,” he added. “I want to thank the President of Romania Klaus Iohannis, the Prime Minister of Romania Nicolae Ionel Ciucă, the colleagues from SNN and the American partners from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the State Department for their support. Yes, Romania will become energy independent and, at the same time, we will ensure our energy security also with the help of nuclear energy. Because decarbonisation without nuclear energy cannot be done.”
The Cernavodă NPP is operated by Nuclearelectrica, a Romanian state-operated energy company, producing electricity, heat and nuclear fuel.
EXIM Bank issued two Letters of Interest for the construction of units 3 and 4 of the Cernavodă NPP:
- the first letter offers a first loan of around 50 million US dollars (48.5 million euros) which would support the development of Phase 2 of the units 3 and 4 projects (Phase 2 is set to begin in the second quarter of 2023);
- the second letter outlines a 3 billion US dollars (2.9 billion euros) loan which would cover the US contribution to the project as a whole.
In October 2020, Romania and the US signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in the field of nuclear energy. This came alongside a separate signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nuclearelectrica and EXIM Bank, in which the US bank expressed an interest to finance major energy investments in Romania, including nuclear investments, adding up to a total value of 7 billion US dollars (6.7 billion euros). The above Letters of Interest follow this MoU.
As stated in Nuclearelectrica’s press release, EXIM Bank’s LOI ‘reaffirms’ the US – Romania’s long-term nuclear partnership, supporting the development of Units 3 and 4 in due time to reach Romania’s climate and energy security goals.