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Romania’s Nuclearelectrica makes Cernavoda NPP Unit 1 refurbishment progress

The Romanian majority state-owned Nuclearelectrica has selected the Canada-based Candu Energy (part of the SNC-Lavalin Group) to conduct further pre-project work for Cernavoda’s Unit 1 CANDU reactor, the company announced on Tuesday (7 March).

Both sides signed a two-year agreement, worth roughly 65 million dollars (60.5 million euros), which will see SNC-Lavalin perform long lead and front-end engineering services, in preparation for the Cernavoda nuclear power plant (NPP) Unit 1 Refurbishment project. The refurbishment will extend the Unit 1 reactor’s operating life to more than 30 years (up to 2060).

“Unit 1 Refurbishment is part of Nuclearelectrica’s commitment to contribute to Romania’s repower through clean, low cost and 24/7 available energy. We [are] proud to capitalise on our 26 years of nuclear expertise at the highest standards of safety and productivity, work alongside top international specialists and complete this strategic project for Romania’s energy security, decarbonisation targets and the new generation of specialists,” said Cosmin Ghita, CEO of Nuclearelectrica.

Specialised personnel from SNC-Lavalin’s Canadian nuclear company will carry out design and procurement engineering work necessary to execute design modifications and recommendations arising out of SNC-Lavalin’s condition assessment. Additionally, new infrastructure and buildings will be designed which are necessary at the site to support reactor retubing activities.

As part of the project, SNC-Lavalin will also work with the Italy-based Ansaldo Nucleare which will supply engineering services for the balance of plant activities, continuing the long-term partnership between the companies. According to Nuclearelectrica’s press release, other companies that are “expected” to supply engineering services associated with the refurbishment of Unit 1 include the US-based Sargent and Lundy, GE (General Electric) Steam Power and Romania-based CITON.

“We are happy to continue the strategic partnership we have with SNC-Lavalin, Ansaldo Nucleare, Sargent and Lundy, CITON and GE (General Electric) Steam Power, as top professionals in the industry and we are keen on advancing the Cernavoda NPP Unit 1 Refurbishment Project, which will provide Romania with another 30 years of baseload clean energy. Moreover, the extension of the lifetime of Unit 1 will continue to bring multiple benefits to Romania: preserving high-quality jobs, as well as creating new ones, investments in the community, an important contribution to the local and national budget, as well as projects for the local supply chain, as part of our vision to create a sustainable future for the next generations,” added Mr Ghiță.

SNC-Lavalin has participated in all CANDU reactor life extension projects to date globally, including projects in New Brunswick (Point Lepreau), Ontario (Darlington and Bruce Power), South Korea (Wolsong), and Argentina (Embalse).

“Our longstanding work at Cernavoda is a leading example of how we operationalise our commitment to engineering a better future for our planet and its people,” said Ian L. Edwards, President and Chief Executive Officer, of SNC-Lavalin. “This life extension will provide many future generations of Romanians with energy security and cost-efficient power, and will allow Romania to continue to benefit from the reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions by over 10 million tonnes a year that the CANDU reactors at Cernavoda have achieved.”

Once completed in 2029, the refurbished Unit 1 of the Cernavoda NPP is expected to generate around 5.5 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of “clean, affordable, resilient energy” with more than five million tons of carbon emissions avoided on an annual basis, for another 30 years.

Unit 1 of NPP (CNE) Cernavoda, with an installed power of 700 MW, was commissioned in 1996 and has generated 133 million MWh of electricity since then, representing 9 per cent of Romania’s consumption over a period of 26 years. Additionally, Unit 1 has prevented the release of 130 million tons of carbon emissions, Nuclearelectrica said.

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