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A two-year USD65 million agreement will see Candu Energy, part of SNC-Lavalin Group, conduct pre-project work for the lifetime extension of unit 1 of Romanian nuclear operator Nuclearelectrica's Cernavoda nuclear power plant.

Cernavoda nuclear power plant (Image: Nuclearelectrica)

The work is expected to include long lead and front-end engineering services for the plant, which has two CANDU units which currently supply 20% of Romania's electricity.

The refurbishment of the first 650 MWe pressurised heavy-water reactors, which was commissioned in 1996, is intended to extend its operating life for a further 30 years, to 2060. Unit 2 went into commercial operation in 2007.

Specialised personnel from SNC-Lavalin’s Canadian nuclear business will carry out the design and procurement engineering work necessary for design modifications and recommendations arising from the condition assessment, and new infrastructure and buildings that are necessary to support reactor retubing activities will be designed, the firms said.

SNC-Lavalin will work with Ansaldo Nucleare, which will supply engineering services for the balance of plant activities. Other supporting organisations include Sargent and Lundy, CITON, and GE Steam Power, who are expected to supply engineering services associated with the refurbishment of unit 1.

The unit 1 refurbishment project began in 2017 and is currently in the second of three phases. This phase, due to last from February 2022 to 2026, covers providing the financial resources, negotiating and granting engineering, procurement and construction contracts, assessing, preparing and scheduling the activities to be carried and obtaining all the authorisations and approvals necessary to start the project. The third phase, scheduled for 2027 to 2029, starts with the shutdown of unit 1, includes all the work required on it and its recommissioning.

Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghita said: "Unit 1 refurbishment is part of Nuclearelectrica’s commitment to contribute to Romania’s repower through clean, low cost and 24/7 available energy. We are proud to capitalise on our 26 years of nuclear expertise at the highest standards of safety and productivity, work alongside top international specialists and complete this strategic project for Romania’s energy security and decarbonisation targets ... preserving high quality jobs, as well as creating new ones."

SNC-Lavalin President and CEO Ian Edwards said: "This life extension will provide many future generations of Romanians with energy security, cost-efficient power, and will allow Romania to continue to benefit from the reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions by over 10 million tonnes a year that the CANDU reactors at Cernavoda have achieved."

Joe St. Julian, president, nuclear at SNC-Lavalin added: "Romania has long adopted a forward-looking view toward its energy needs ... as the steward and original equipment manufacturer of CANDU technology, we are thrilled to be able to conduct this vital work for SNN (Nuclearelectrica) and the Romanian people, just as we were entrusted to originally construct Cernavoda’s reactors in 1996 and 2007."

SNC-Lavalin has taken a leading role in all CANDU reactor life extension projects to date, including projects located in Canada, South Korea and Argentina.

As well as lifetime extension plans for the existing two units, Romania also hopes to complete the partially built Cernavoda units 3 and 4. Most of the work on units 3 and 4 - like units 1 and 2, CANDU-6 reactors - was done in the 1980s prior to the fall of the government of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989. The country is also looking to establish small modular reactors.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Thursday, 09 March 2023
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