French Prime Minister Jean Castex and his Romanian counterpart Ludovic Orban signed a declaration of intent on cooperation in the civil nuclear field. The two countries aim to work with strategic partners to build units 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant and to upgrade unit 1. Romanian power producer Nuclearelectrica and French nuclear engineering firm Orano also signed an agreement.
The Romanian Prime Minister said the main objective of the visit was the signing of an updated version of a Roadmap on Strategic Partnership between France and Romania, with the objective of strengthening the cooperation in various fields of the economy, including energy and civil nuclear power.
Two weeks ago Romania signed a draft intergovernmental agreement with the United States to cooperate on the expansion and modernisation of Romania’s civil nuclear power program including the financing of the construction of units 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda plant and the upgrade of unit 1.
Romanian Economy Minister Virgil Popescu revealed after signing the agreement with the United States that American company AECOM will lead the 8 billion US dollars project in the framework of a wider North Atlantic cooperation, which will include Canadian and French companies. Orano specialises in uranium mining and was initially established in 2017 as a subsidiary of Areva, following a restructuring process.
Romania has been planning for a long time to expand the Cernavoda nuclear power plant. It originally partnered up with China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN). However, cooperation between Nuclearelectrica and CGN became uncertain after Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis and US president Donald Trump signed a joint declaration on energy co-operation last year. Finally, Romania announced in January that it was cancelling its plan to build the new units together with CGN.
The Cernavoda nuclear power plant is the first and the only nuclear power generating facility operating in Romania. Operating since 1996, the facility, with two 706 megawatts (MW) operating units, currently fulfils approximately 18 per cent of the country’s electricity demands.