US agrees to build and partly finance two new nuclear reactors in RO worth USD 8 bln
A consortium led by US engineering firm AECom and including Canadian, French and Romanian partners, will develop the USD 8 bln nuclear plant expansion at Cernavoda, according to an Intergovernmental Agreement signed by US secretary of energy Dan Brouillette and Romania's minister of economy Virgil Popescu, on October 6, in Washington.
"Once formally executed, this historic agreement will lay the foundation for Romania to utilize US expertise and technology with a multinational team building reactor Units 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant and refurbishing reactor Unit 1," according to a statement issued by the US Department of Energy.
The two new 700 MW reactors will use the same technology, Candu 6, as the first two reactors commissioned during the 1990s.
The deal would "unshackle" Romania from China's "malign influence", US Ambassador to Romania Adrian Zuckerman said, adding that "the communist party's control of every Chinese company, domestically and abroad, poses an existential danger."
In June, Romania broke off its agreement with China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) for building the two new reactors after the negotiations went cold.
Part of the financing for the USD 8 bln expansion at Cernavoda could come from the US Export-Import Bank (EXIM).
EXIM Chairman Kimberly Reed and Romania's economy minister Virgil Popescu signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday.
Under the MOU, EXIM and Romania agree to explore and identify options to potentially use EXIM financing of up to USD 7 bln, particularly in the energy and infrastructure sectors.
"Apart from the initialed agreement, we also managed to identify the US interest for a USD 7 billion funding component for the development of energy projects - including nuclear and liquefied natural gas and infrastructure projects - road, rail, bunkering stations, through a Memorandum of Understanding with Export-Import Bank of the United States," minister Popescu said.
Among the projects to be financed, there are a railway and a motorway that would link the Black Sea port of Constanta in Romania and the Gdansk Baltic port in Poland, US Ambassador to Romania Adrian Zuckerman said.