The White House announced in a statement on Tuesday the United States and Romania’s plan to build a small modular reactor plant in Romania in partnership with US private Planner company NuScale Power.
Through its “first-of-a-kind” small modular reactor (SMR) plant in Romania, Oregon-based NuScale Power – an American private company that designs and markets small modular reactors – will bring the latest civil nuclear technology to a critical part of Europe possibly two years prior than anywhere else in the world.
The agreement envisages the six-module NuScale plant to initially create over 3,700 US and Romanian jobs with the potential to create 30,000 jobs as the project grows. The modular reactors are expected to start producing energy by 2028.
The innovative SMR clean technology deployment, according to the White House, will be an essential contributor to a decarbonised power sector and net-zero future.
Romania is using a mix of gas, coal, hydro, nuclear and renewable energy to generate electricity but most of it plants are decades old and in need of refurbishing or replacement.
Since its sole nuclear power producer, state-owned Nuclearelectrica, currently accounts for roughly a fifth of Romania’s power with its two 706-megawatt reactors, Romania has joined several EU states in its joint push for including nuclear energy in the bloc’s sustainable finance rules.
Nuclearelectrica, who operates with Romania’s sole nuclear power plant Cernavoda, signed a memorandum of understanding in March 2019 with NuScale Power to explore potential uses of SMRs in Romania.
The Romanian presidency said the investment will consolidate the partnership between Romania and the US in the civil nuclear sector after they signed in 2020 cooperation agreement to expand and modernise Romania’s nuclear power programme.
The cooperation between the two countries in developing, producing and use of low carbon emission technologies was extensively discussed during Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis meeting with John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate during a meeting in the margins of the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
They also focused on the consolidation of bilateral cooperation in nuclear and renewable energy and energy storage and transport electrification while seeking for nuclear to be included as a way to reach the EU’s climate goals in light of the recent spike in energy costs.