Romania’s energy minister Virgil Popescu announced that the country’s first small modular reactor (SMR) will be located at the Doicești thermal power plant, in the Dâmbovița County.
The announcement is a key advancement of US-based company NuScale and Romania’s nuclear firm Nuclearelectrica’s teaming agreement signed last year. Indeed, Romania has the potential to accommodate the first deployment of SMRs in Europe and become a catalyst for SMRs in the region, as well as a base for supporting the operatorship of this new technology in other countries.
“Today, energy means security,” said Minister Popescu. “We are committed to keeping our promise and supporting Romania in achieving energy independence, as well as to achieving our decarbonisation goals.”
The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded a grant to Nuclearelectrica in early 2021, for the conduct of a study to identify and assess several sites across Romania, including locations where existing coal-fired power plants could be replaced with SMR plants. The study was performed by US firm Sargent & Lundy and identified several potential suitable sites.
“The site selection it’s a great first step for Romania in our SMR roadmap, after more than three years from our first MoU with NuScale, in which we analysed the technology, its safety, its maturity and its readiness towards deployment and meeting Romania’s energy security and decarbonisation goals,” commented Cosmin Ghita, CEO Nuclearelectrica. “The Nuclearelectrica team, based on its track record of operating at nuclear safety as one of the safest performing nuclear plants in the world has the experience, knowledge and professional skills to embark alongside NuScale for the first deployment of a small modular reactor in Europe. We are committed to continuing to offer Romania clean, safe and affordable energy and the development of the first small modular reactor in Romania will prove our country’s experience and offer a new future to the nuclear energy industry: we will form a nucleus of excellence for the nuclear industry in Romania and a hub for the region in terms of components production and assembly and preparing operators for the SMR technology in the region.”
The community in Doicești will also see other benefits such as the creation of thousands of jobs and a reduction of 4 million tons of CO2 emissions per year.
At the same time, Romania’s prime minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă underlined the importance of building reactors 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant as well as the maintenance works needed at Unit 1 as necessary stages to reach the level of ensuring energy independence in Romania.