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US-based NuScale Power has joined the Romanian Atomic Forum (Romatom) as a supporting member to champion the association’s nuclear energy goals. Romania aims to be the first country in Europe to deploy a NuScale VOYGR small modular reactor (SMR) power plant. John Hopkins, NuScale President & CEO, said NuScale was “committed to advancing the secure deployment of SMRs globally”.

This builds on NuScale’s existing nuclear power collaboration with Romania’s state nuclear power corporation, SN Nuclearelectrica (SNN) and RoPower Nuclear, a project development company established and jointly owned pany SNN and Nova Power & Gas. In 2021, NuScale and SNN signed a teaming agreement to deploy the first NuScale six-module VOYGR-6, 462 MWe power plant in Romania by the end of this decade.

NuScale and RoPower are currently conducting a Phase 1 Front-End Engineering & Design (FEED) study to analyse the preferred site for possible deployment of a VOYGR SMR at a former coal plant in Doicesti, Dambovita County.

At the recent G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, the US Administration with multinational partners (Japan, South Korea and the UAE) announced a global public-private commitment of up to $275m to advance the deployment of a NuScale VOYGR in Romania. This will support procurement of long lead materials, Phase 2 FEED work, provision of project management expertise, site characterisation and regulatory analyses, and the development of site-specific schedule and budget estimates for project execution.

In addition, the US Export-Import Bank (EXIM) and International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) issued Letters of Interest for potential support of up to $3bn and $1bn, respectively, for project deployment.

“Support from the Biden Administration and international partners is a signal to energy markets around the world that NuScale SMRs are an important new technology solution to global decarbonization and that Romania has the capabilities and experience to support its deployment,” said John Hopkins. “We are thrilled public-private partnerships are helping deploy our leading SMR technology as soon as 2029.”

Additional NuScale partners supporting the Romania project include Japan Bank for International Cooperation (Japan); DS Private Equity (South Korea); EXIM Bank Romania, Nuclearelectrica, Nova Power & Gas (Romania); Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (United Arab Emirates); DFC and EXIM (US).

”We are proud to advance our partnership with NuScale and start the in-depth analysis and project planning on Doicesti site,” said Cosmin Ghita, CEO of Nuclearelectrica. “The signing of the contract for FEED work follows nearly four years of collaboration, research, and studies to ensure we select the safest and most performing technology, as well as the appropriate site. It also demonstrates the partners share the same values and commitment to build a greener and more sustainable future for the next generations.”

Dr Teodor Chirica, President Emeritus of Romatom, welcomed NuScale’s membership. "The project in Doicesti will pave the way for more flexibility and safety in the Romanian Power Grid, but also offer an alternative in the development of the national nuclear programme."

Earlier in May, NuScale and Nuclearelectrica opened the first international NuScale Energy Exploration Centre (E2 Centre) in Europe, in collaboration with the US and Romanian governments. The SMR simulator was installed at the University Politechnica of Bucharest as a development tool for Nuclearelectrica and the Romanian nuclear workforce.

Image: Artist's impression of a NuScale VOYGR SMR power plant (courtesy of NuScale Power)

Date: Friday, 26 May 2023
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