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August 11, 2022
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Romania, US sign teaming agreement to build small modular reactor in Romania

In Glasgow on Thursday, Romania’s national nuclear corporation Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghita and NuScale Power President and CEO John Hopkins signed the official documents related to a teaming agreement under which the two companies will work together to build a small modular reactor (SMR) in Romania.

The signing of the documents took place after the US Administration announced on Tuesday that the American company NuScale Power will build a small modular nuclear reactor in Romania.

The teaming agreement between NuScale Power, whose SMR is the first and only small modular reactor to receive design approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Nuclearelectrica, a Romanian nuclear energy producer, comes at a pivotal time as senior government policymakers from around the world discuss the urgency of accelerating the clean energy transition. Discussion at the signing ceremony echoed this call to action and reinforced how NuScale’s SMRs can support international climate goals, help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, and strengthen global prosperity. 

Under the teaming agreement, NuScale will help Nuclearelectrica evaluate its technology, and together, the organizations will take steps toward deploying a first NuScale 6-module, 462 MWe, power plant in Romania as early as 2027/2028. The NuScale 6-module power plant is estimated to generate 193 permanent power plant jobs, 1,500 construction jobs, 2,300 manufacturing jobs and help Romania avoid 4M tons of CO2 emissions per year.

As Romania aims to diversify its energy portfolio and meet climate goals, NuScale’s advanced technology presents the perfect safe, economic and scalable solution” said John Hopkins, NuScale Power Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “While world leaders emphasize how critical this moment is in addressing climate change, NuScale’s SMR technology not only represents a pathway to meet Romania’s climate commitments, but also is a means to bolster local economic growth. NuScale is excited to work with Nuclearelectrica and to showcase the many benefits our technology will bring.

Nuclearelectrica is proud to be at the lead, valuing its experience operating at excellent standards and one of the highest performing nuclear plants in the world, into developing the first SMRs in Europe, an energy source that is 100% carbon free and which will reduce environmental footprints and put us on a path toward a zero-emission world. And at the same time, will form a new generation of engineers, which will benefit from the 25 years of experience Nuclearelectrica has and the groundbreaking innovation of NuScale’s SMR technology. What exciting times to contribute to the future of energy, to build a clean legacy for the generations to come,” Cosmin Ghita (photo R), Chief Executive Officer, Nuclearelectrica

“Specifically, the teaming agreement outlines the next significant milestones for Nuclearelectrica and NuScale to develop safe, affordable zero-carbon baseload power technology with a focus on retired coal plant sites. It will support the Government of Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan to phase out 4.59 GWe of coal fired energy production by 2032. By repurposing coal plants, Nuclearelectrica and NuScale can help communities and plant workers participate in the transition to decarbonized energy, while also continuing to provide local economic benefits. This teaming agreement serves as a catalyst for deployments in other Three Seas Initiative countries seeking to decarbonize,” a press release issued by Nuclearlectrica informs.

This agreement follows a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Nuclearelectrica and NuScale in 2019 to evaluate the development, licensing and construction of a NuScale SMR in Romania. The new teaming agreement advances the commitment to facilitate the deployment of a NuScale SMR in Romania.  

In August 2020, NuScale made history as the first and only SMR to receive design approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission– a crucial step towards the construction and deployment of this SMR technology. The company maintains strong program momentum toward commercialization of its SMR technology, including supply chain development, standard plant design, planning of plant delivery activities, and startup and commissioning plans.

 

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Romanian Minister of Energy Virgil Popescu Highlight New Partnership on SMRs

 

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and Romanian Minister of Energy Virgil Popescu highlighted a new commercial partnership between NuScale Power and Nuclearelectrica that was signed earlier this week on the sidelines of the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. The new agreement has the potential to advance the deployment of Europe’s first small modular reactor (SMR) in Romania by the end of the decade and could position Romania as a potential hub for SMR production in the region.

U.S.-company NuScale Power and Romanian utility Nuclearelectrica agreed to work toward the deployment of a NuScale SMR plant at a retiring coal facility as early as 2027/2028. The zero-carbon power source will help support the country’s plan to phase out coal-fired energy production by 2032 and further supports the U.S.-Romania strategic partnership on civil nuclear energy deployment.

“The United States views nuclear energy as a pivotal technology in the global effort to lower emissions, expand economic opportunity, and ultimately combat climate change,” said Secretary Granholm. “We have been supporting the development of SMRs for decades, and it is extremely gratifying to celebrate this important milestone for Romania to help them achieve their climate goals.”

“I welcome this new partnership on SMR technology with NuScale,” said Minister of Energy Popescu

Based on the Integrated National Plan in the field of Energy and Climate Change (PNIESC), Romania plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% until 2030 and its import dependency from 20,8% today to 17,8% in 2030. Nuclear energy has an essential role in achieving these decarbonization targets and ensuring the energy transition to a carbon-free economy, currently contributing 33% in total CO2-free energy production. After the implementation of strategic investment projects, this contribution will increase exponentially, while also ensuring energy security for Romania and the region. Building and operating small modular reactors will have proven environmental benefits of clean, emissions-free energy, bringing direct socio-economic benefits to the community it serves and generating continued prosperity for the regional industry and economy. We aim to develop the first SMR this decade in order to meet our critical energy demand and green targets securing a quality future for the generations to come. Decarbonation with nuclear is possible! I salute and support the signing of the teaming between the two companies, based on the long history of our two countries. The bilateral relations between Romania and the USA in the nuclear field started in the 1980s and since then they bring numerous benefits, most importantly economic stability and energy security. I thank our American partners and Secretary Granholm for supporting and endorsing the nuclear programs”, he added.

SMRs and other advanced nuclear technologies will allow countries to generate far more carbon-free power at lower cost to revitalize the nuclear energy industry worldwide.  The U.S. Department of Energy has invested more than $400 million since 2014 in order to accelerate the development and deployment of SMRs.

According to a press release of the U.S. Department  of Energy, repurposing coal plants with SMRs can help Romanian communities and plant workers participate in the transition to decarbonized energy, while also continuing to provide local economic benefits. “This strategy serves as a catalyst for deployments in other Three Seas Initiative countries seeking to decarbonize and further reinforces the strategic partnership between the United States and Romania”.

Romania plans to reduce carbon emissions by 55% until 2030 and its import dependency on fossil fuels from 20.8% to 17.8% in 2030. Nuclear energy, which currently contributes 33% of the country’s emissions-free energy production, will have an essential role in achieving these decarbonization targets to ensure the energy transition to a carbon-free economy, the release also informs.

 

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