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Doicesti site selection process for SMR deployment in Romania in line with IAEA standards, SEED follow-up mission concludes

Romanian state-owned nuclear energy company Nuclearelectrica reported on Tuesday (9 April) that the IAEA SEED (Site and External Events Design) follow-up mission has concluded that the selection process of the Doicesti site is in line with the IAEA recommended approach for site selection.

The SEED programme assists IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Member States at different stages in the development of a nuclear power programme, including reviewing site selection, site assessment and design of structures, systems, and components, taking into consideration site-specific external and internal potential hazards.

“The IAEA Team welcomed the effort spent by SNN [Nuclearelectrica] to conduct an objective, feasible and safety-oriented site selection process in Romania, considered a robust framework for the SMR project development,” said Paolo Contri, Team Leader for the review and Head of the External Events Safety Section in the IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. “The request for a follow-up of the SEED mission carried out in 2022 to review the process on site selection, is the best evidence of the SNN commitment to safety and its firm decision to minimise the risk that safety issues discovered at later stage may challenge the smooth and safe project implementation. The experience under development in Romania can be of great value for the nuclear community.”

The SEED mission was requested by Nuclearelectrica to independently assess the site selection process according to the IAEA Safety Standards, and consequently start the next phase of site evaluation preliminary to the site license application for an SMR project in Romania.

The Romanian scientific team provided data and scientific evidence to support the decision to select the Doicesti site for the first SMR development in Romania. The internal teams of reputed experts carried out detailed investigations, calculations, and studies showing that the final selection of the Doicesti site is sustainable and in full compliance with the IAEA recommended approach for site selection.

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“We consider that a safe nuclear project should be done also based on thorough, independent assessments, hence our invitation to IAEA to conduct such a review Nuclear projects, regardless of the technology, have one essential thing in common: nuclear safety and we are keen on developing an exemplary project by using a high-level nuclear safety technology, rigorous site selection, complete and safe site-specific external events consideration,” said Cosmin Ghita, Chief Executive Officer of Nuclearelectrica. “In addition to Romanian experts, we very much appreciate international objective, independent expertise to make sure that all safety related issues are considered and addressed since the early stages of the project. I thank IAEA team of experts for conducting this review and I thank the Romanian team of experts for reconfirming their professionalism.”

As noted by Nuclearelectrica in a press release, the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) granted 1.2 million US dollars for the site selection process.

”The conclusions of IAEA team of experts regarding site selection process reconfirm our strategy and effort to develop a state-of-the-art SMR project in Romania. We salute the efforts of IAEA and SN Nuclearelectrica for carrying out the review of a site selection compliant with the highest safety standards,” said Melania Amuza, CEO of RoPower Nuclear. “This way the SMR Doicesti project is positioned as a standard for excellence in the SMR development field in Romania and Europe. We are also certain that current evaluations, recommendations, and studies will contribute and act as a catalyst for current and future SMR projects. We believe we have a solid project, and the current IAEA evaluation gives us even more confidence.”

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