South Korea's Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) said on 25 January that it had signed an agreement with US-based engineering firm Sargent & Lundy to collaborate on renovation projects at Romania’s Cernavoda NPP.

The two 650MWe (net) pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) at Cernavoda provide about 17% of Romania’s electricity.

The plant is planning to order tritium removal facilities, radioactive waste storage facilities and pressure channels as part of a major refurbishment programme. The PHWRs are similar in design to South Korea’s Wolsong nuclear plant, where KHNP has completed a similar modernisation project. Sargent & Lundy has also been involved in upgrading Canadian PHWRs.

Cernavoda NPP was initially planned to have five Candu 6 PHWRs. Cernavoda 1 and 2 started operations in 1996 and 2007, respectively. State nuclear power corporation Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN) has been in negotiation for many years with a number of companies for construction of Cernavoda 3&4, but progress has been slow.

Meanwhile, in 2017, SNN received shareholder approval to start upgrading Cernavoda 1. The first phase of the refurbishment will include activities necessary to ensure the operation of Cernavoda 1 for a period of 30 years, "meaning the extension of the operating hours at nominal power in addition to the 210,000 hours initially estimated by the design", SNN said. The refurbishment outage is expected between December 2026 and December 2028.

Photo: Cernavoda 1 (Credit: Nuclearelectrica)