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December 4, 2021

20 years since the first connection to the National Power System of the Unit 1 of CNE Cernavoda

On July 11, 1996, first connection was made to the National Power System of the Unit 1 of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant (CNE). On October 2 in the same year, unit 1 reached the nominal power, while on December 2, 1996, it entered into commercial operation. Thus, Romania entered among countries producing nuclear energy with the first nuclear power plant in Romania, Cernavoda.

Romania was the first country from the Eastern Bloc that used Western technology, namely the CANDU system, all the other socialist states using Soviet technology.

However, the history of the nuclear energy industry in Romania started in the ‘60s, when the first collective of nuclear power plants created within the Institute for Energy Studies and Designs (ISPE) started to study the technologies and the pathways existing at that time, initiating also the first studies of site for the first nuclear power plant in Romania, Cernavoda. A determined option is taken only in 1977, when the Agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy was signed at the level of the Romanian and Canadian Governments. The feasibility study jointly issued has led to choosing the nuclear CANDU-6 reactor using natural uranium as fuel and cooled and moderated with heavy water, designed by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, as well as the Cernavoda location, as starting points in building the Romanian energy program.

In 1990, Unit 1 was 45 percent ready. In the same year, at the Romanian Government’s request, an international delegation of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency, headquartered in Vienna, came to Cernavoda to inspect the works. The report was positive, but it also included several recommendations. Following these recommendations, the former National Directorate for Electricity – RENEL, concluded the management contract for the completion and commissioning of the first nuclear unit from Cernavoda, with the AAC consortium, formed by AECL Canada and ANSALDO Italy.

On July, 1996, Unit 1 of the Nuclear Power Plant from Cernavoda emitted the first Megawatt, while on October 2, the same year, Unit 1 reached the nominal power, following to enter into commercial operation on December 2. In 2006, the quantity of produced energy within the National Company “Nuclearelectrica”, through Unit 1 of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant was of 5,361 million MWh, a record of the production in the ten years of commercial operation, out of which 5,177 million MWh were delivered in the national system. Once Unit 2 entered into commercial operation in 2007, “Nuclearelectrica” provides around 18 percent of the Romania’s electricity production.


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