Reta Jo Lewis, President of Exim Bank – the USA's official export credit agency – has announced the issue of two letters of interest (LOI) for the financing of pre-project technical services provided by the US for units 3 and 4 of Nuclearelectrica’s Cernavoda NPP in Romania. The announcement was made at the US Pavilion of COP27 meeting in Egypt in the presence of US Presidential Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, and Romanian Minister of Energy, Virgil Popescu.

Based on the preliminary information presented, Exim will be able to consider funding up to $50,000,000 of the US export contract for pre-project technical services as part of the Engineering Multiplier Program (EMP), and up to $3 billion from the US export contract for engineering and project management services for the contract to complete Units 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda NPP.

Nuclear Utility Nuclearelectrica operates under the authority of the Ministry of Energy, with the Romanian state holding 82.49% of the shares, and the other shareholders 17.5%. CNE Branch Cernavoda operates two Candu nuclear units (1&2), with plans to construct two more units (3&4)

Romania’s partnership with the US in the nuclear field began in October 2020 based on an Intergovernmental Agreement, which was ratified by the Romanian Parliament in 2021. The LOIs follow a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in October 2020, in which US Exim Bank expressed its interest in financing major energy investment projects in Romania, including nuclear, totalling $7 billion. They reaffirm the long-term partnership between the US and Romania in the nuclear sector, supporting the development of units 3&4 to achieve Romania's climate and energy security goals.

Nuclearelectrica shareholders in April 2021 drew up its strategy for Cernavoda 3&4, which comprises three stages.

  • Stage 1 started at the end of 2021 with the capitalisation and launch of project company Energonuclear SA. This stage will last up to 24 months, during which engineering and security documentation will be prepared. In November 2021 Energonuclear signed a first contract with Candu Energy (part of the SNC-Lavalin Group), and the Candu Design Authority and OEM (the original manufacturer of Candu technology) for the Project. Candu Energy will provide engineering services for the development and updating of the documentation.
  • Stage 2 will involve preliminary works, and is estimated to last up to 30 months. It will include critical engineering preparation for project definition, obtaining the Nuclear Safety Licence for construction, re-evaluating the feasibility of the project based on updated technical and economic indicators, and the adoption of the Final Investment Decision.
  • Stage 3 will involve mobilising the site, starting construction, commissioning and commercial operation of unit 3 in 2030 and unit 4 in 2031.

Image: Exim Bank President, Reta Jo Lewis, alongside US Presidential Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, and Romanian Minister of Energy, Virgil Popescu, has announced the issuance of two letters of interest (courtesy of Exim Bank)