The deal was sealed by the legal representatives of Ansaldo Nucleare, ENEA and Pitesti Nuclear Research Institute “ICN”.
Romania will host at Mioveni a pilot project for the construction of an experimental nuclear reactor, to be achieved with an investment worth EUR 1 bln by the Italian company Ansaldo Nucleare jointly with ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) and the Pitesti Institute of Nuclear Research (ICN). The three entities will collaborate under a memorandum signed Wednesday in presence of the delegate minister for Energy, Constantin Nita.
The project, named ALFRED – Advanced Lead Fast Reactor European Demonstrator, is the name given to this pilot plant, which represents the solution produced from European, and particularly Italian, research work to tackle safety issues affecting nuclear power plants in the event of extreme conditions and therefore makes an important contribution to the development of a low carbon emission energy system.
More exactly, ALFRED aims at constructing a next-generation, lead-cooled nuclear reactor that is expected to be more efficient and safer than the models currently in commercial operation at world scale.
At the signing ceremony, Eng. Giovanni Lelli, High Commissioner of ENEA, characterized the establishment of the Corporation on building the ALFRED reactor in Romania as a successful collaboration between public research and the industry, as well as between ENEA and Ansaldo Nucleare.
In view of providing high-tech components, the Italian industry will have access to Romanian and EU financing.
The nuclear plant will have a power generation capacity of 125 MW, equivalent to a tenth of the power of the Cernavoda NPP and might become operational around year 2025. Romania was chosen as host for the project in the context of the new members of the European Union may use cohesion funds in order to cover part of the investment. Another advantage of Romania if that the public here is favourable to nuclear energy. Unlike Italy, which closed all its nuclear power plants in 1990 and the population firmly rejected their recommissioning, “We do not know when nuclear fission will return to Italy, but we want the Italian industry to be technologically prepared for that moment,” said Eng. Giovanni Lelli, commissary with ENEA, the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development.
“To us, Romania is like a second country, because only here we had the possibility to exert our primary competences. The fact that Italian institutions and companies, jointly with Romanian institutions, can promote this project is an important signal for Europe,” added Roberto Adinolfi, CEO Ansaldo Nucleare.
“We hope the technology developed with the Italian partners will represent a step toward a safer and more efficient nuclear sector. Romania preserves the option to develop the nuclear sector and we grant much attention to this project,” minister Nita mentioned.
Italian excellence in the development of liquid lead technology is recognized at European level and the creation of this Consortium may encourage further interesting international collaboration opportunities in the framework of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), to which the United States contributes as promoter, along with numerous other nations which are showing growing interest in IV generation technologies. Collaboration between Italy and Romania in the nuclear sector dates back more than 30 years: Ansaldo Nucleare played a key role in the construction of the first two CANDU units (heavy water reactors) at the Cernavoda power plant, collaborating with the Canadian owners of the technology and numerous Romanian industrial players. Today the Cernavoda plant produces 20 percent of the country’s electric power requirement and there are plans to double its output, a project for which Ansaldo Nucleare is once again a candidate.
In the light of the new development, the project worth over EUR 6 bln of the construction of reactors 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda NPP will be re-evaluated and the private shareholders of EnergoNuclear – Enel (Italy) and ArcelorMittal Romania – have the option to stay or not in the project developer company, the delegate minister for Energy, Constantin Nita added.