SNC Lavalin subsidiary Candu Energy has signed a ‘binding and exclusive’ contract with China Nuclear Power Engineering Company, Ltd. (CNPEC) for the construction of CANDU Units 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in Romania in Vancouver. The agreement was witnessed by senior representatives of China’s National Energy Administration and Natural Resources Canada.

This agreement follows a letter of intent signed by CNPEC’s parent company China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and Romanian utility Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN) in November 2013 for investment in and development of two additional nuclear units at the Cernavoda site.

Romania already has two operating CANDU 6 nuclear reactors, which came into service in 1996 and 2007. Combined, they are the largest power producer in the country, accounting for about 20 per cent of Romania’s energy supply.

Plans for two more Candu 6 reactors at Cernavoda have been discussed for some time, but financial investment has been hard to find.

"Candu Energy looks forward to working with CNPEC to meet Romania’s growing nuclear energy requirements. This is an exciting opportunity to build on CANDU technology’s international track record for the highest levels of safety, reliability and efficiency," said Preston Swafford, Candu Energy President and CEO.

CANDU nuclear technology has an established presence in China, with two 700 megawatt CANDU reactors at Qinshan Phase III, located southwest of Shanghai.

CNPEC is a subsidiary of China Nuclear Engineering Group Corporation, which completed construction of Chashma I and II nuclear power plants in Pakistan, and has also undertaken nuclear island construction in mainland China.

Candu Energy said that it is pursuing other international new-build opportunities in the United Kingdom and China, among other markets.

On 24 July SNC Lavalin also signed a formal memorandum of understanding with CNNC, China National Nuclear Corporation, to jointly develop and pursue power generation, mining and metallurgy and nuclear-related environmental protection projects.

According to SNC-Lavalin, under the agreement it will work with CNNC to develop reactors using Advanced Fuel CANDU (AFCR) technology in China. Developed by Candu Energy, AFCR technology uses both recycled uranium- and thorium-based fuels to deliver high-performing reactors with strong environmental benefits. The MOU also provides a framework for collaboration between SNC-Lavalin and CNNC on uranium mining projects in China, and the pursuit of international project opportunities in various high-growth sectors and markets.