US awards grant to Romania’s Nuclearelectrica for SMRs

18 January 2021

Illustrations courtesy of NuScale Power, LLCThe US Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant to Romania’s nuclear energy authority, Societatea National Nuclearelectrica (SNN), for technical assistance to support the development of small modular reactor (SMR) solutions in Romania.

The non-reimbursable grant of $1,277,115 will be used to finance the cost of technical assistance services related to a preliminary evaluation of some potential nuclear sites compatible SMR technologies in Romania.

"USTDA is an ideal partner for Romania because it is looking for state-of-the-art technologies in the field of civil nuclear energy for its future energy needs," said Todd Abrajano, USTDA director and COO.

"Our support will create closer ties between our industries and create new business opportunities for the US industry in an important market.”

The USTDA grant will be used to fund technical assistance costs for identifying and evaluating sites suitable for SMR technologies and developing a roadmap for their licensing. SNN has Illinois-based Sargent & Lundy to carry out the assistance, USTDA said.

The USA and Romania are committed to the development of nuclear energy. According to Romania's Draft Energy Strategy, the use of SMRs could be beneficial for ensuring new energy capacities without carbon emissions and hydrogen production sources after 2035.

Cernavoda has two commercially operational Candu 6 pressurised heavy water reactors, which were supplied by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd and built under the supervision of a Canadian-Italian consortium of AECL and Ansaldo. Construction of the two-unit station began in the early 1980s. The Cernavoda 3&4 project aims to complete and commission two further Candu 6 reactors.

“Besides the current development of reactors 3&4, SNN is also interested in evaluating the development of small modular reactors as a long-term solution for the further development of the Romanian nuclear industry,” said SNN general director Cosmin Ghita. “We are interested in features such as flexibility, modularity and high efficiency that could offer benefits for both the energy system and the business environment after 2035. The USTDA grant will allow us to evaluate locations and technology with assistance appropriate technology and initiate this evaluation process in a timely manner to support a subsequent decision-making process.”

In October 2020, the USA and Romania initialled a draft Intergovernmental Agreement to cooperate on expansion and modernisation of Romania’s civil nuclear power programme. The agreement came after the collapse of Romanian co-operation with China. An agreement has also been signed with France.

Photo courtesy NuScale Power

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