Romania, Nuclearelectrica’s shareholders approved NPP Cernavoda unit 1 refurbishment project

, SEE Energy News

Romanian electricity producer Nuclearelectrica announced that its shareholders have approved the investment decision for the project for the refurbishment of unit 1 of Romania’s sole nuclear power plant Cernavoda.

CANDU reactors have an initial lifespan of 30 years. Following a refurbishmernt process, this lifespan can be extended with additional 30 years. NPP Cernavoda’s unit 1 was commissioned in 1996.

CEO of Nuclearelectrica Cosmin Ghita said that the refurbishment of NPP Cernavoda’s unit 1 is a project on which the company has been working since 2017. It is a strategic project for Romania and for reaching the decarbonization targets. The refurbishment of unit 1 means additional 30 years of operation under maximum nuclear safety conditions, after 2029, at less than half of the cost of nuclear new build. Lifetime extension of nuclear units has the lowest levelized cost of energy of all energy sources, renewables included. In the context of energy transition and decarbonization, it also means additional 30 years of operation without CO2 emissions, a total a approximately 150 million tons of CO2 avoided.

Once with the approval of the investment decision, the company moves on to the second phase of the project namely the assurance of financial resources for the realization of the project, preparedness of execution of the identified and defined activities during phase 1 and obtaining all the necessary approvals and permits to unfold the project, Ghita explained.

The investment decision was approved based on the Feasibility Study and Scenario no. 2, „enhanced safety”, considered optimum by Nuclearelectrica. The version approved by the shareholders includes design changes which additionally provide, in comparison to Scenario no. 1, the enhancement of nuclear safety margins of the power plant and take into consideration the new tendencies to increase the robustness from a nuclear safety standpoint.

The current cost for the implementation of Scenario no. 2 is approximately 1.85 billion euros without the financing cost and inflation rate update at the date unit 1 refurbishment contract will be signed.

The second phase, 2022-2026, which starts once with the approval of the investment decision includes the assurance of the financial resources, preparedness of the execution of the identified and defined activities during phase 1 for the refurbishment of unit 1 and obtaining all the necessary approvals and permits to unfold the project, phase which will last until the end of 2026.

Phase 3, 2027-2029, will start once with the shutdown of unit 1 and consists in the effective realization of the refurbishment of unit and its commissioning for a new operation cycle of 30 years, after 2029.