The Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant (Centrala Nucleară de la Cernavodă) is the only nuclear power plant in Romania. It produces around 20% of the country's electricity. It uses CANDU reactor technology from AECL, using heavy water produced at Drobeta-Turnu Severin as its neutron moderator and water from the Danube – Black Sea Canal for cooling.

By using nuclear power, Romania is able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by over 10 million tonnes each year.

The power plant was designed in Canada by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited in the 1980s, during the Communist era. The initial plan was to build five units.

Units 1 and 2 are currently fully operational. Three more partially-completed CANDU reactors exist on the same site, part of a project discontinued at the close of the Nicolae Ceauşescu regime. Units 3 and 4 are in their planning stages, with expected completion dates of 2014 and 2015 respectively.

CNE-INVEST is responsible for the preservation of Units 3-5.

Cernavoda Nuclear Reactor Unit 1

Unit 1, a CANDU 6-type, was finished in 1996 and produces 705.6 MW of electricity.

It was commissioned and began operating at full power in 1996 and has had record capacity factors of 90 per cent since 2005.

Cernavoda Nuclear Reactor Unit 2

A consortium of AECL and Ansaldo Nucleare of Italy, along with the Nuclearelectrica (SNN) SA, Romania’s nuclear public utility, was contracted in 2003 to manage the construction of the partially completed Unit 2 power plant and to commission it into service.

Four years later, Unit 2, another CANDU 6-reactor, achieved criticality on 6 May 2007 and was connected to the national grid on 7 August. It began operating at full capacity on 12 September 2007, also producing 706MW.

Unit 2 was officially commissioned on Friday, October 5, 2007 during ceremonies attended by Romanian Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu and senior officials from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). This makes CNE-Cernavoda Station the largest power producer in the country.

Future expansion

Cernavoda Nuclear Reactor Units 3 and 4

Units 3 and 4 are expected to be CANDU 6 reactors with a similar design to Unit 2 and will each have a capacity of 740 MW. Units 3 and 4 are expected to be operational by 2016-2017. The project is estimated to take up to six years after the contracts are signed.

In a feasibility study carried out by Deloitte and Touche, the most economically viable scenario would be to build the two phases at the same time, with the cost estimated at €2.3 billion.

On 20 November 2008, Nuclearelectrica, ArcelorMittal, ČEZ, GDF Suez, Enel, Iberdrola and RWE agreed to set up a joint company dedicated to the completion, commissioning and operation of Units 3 and 4. The company named Energonuclear was registered in March 2009.

20th of January 2011, GDF Suez, Iberdrola and RWE pulled out of the project, following ČEZ which already left last September, citing "Economic and market-related uncertainties surrounding this project, related for the most part to the present financial crisis, are not reconcilable now with the capital requirements of a new nuclear power project".

Cernavoda Nuclear Reactor Units 5

There are currently no plans to complete Unit 5 at this time. However, the possibility of finishing construction remains.

Accidents and major events in Cerdanova Nuclear Power Plant

  • On 30 May 2009, Unit 1 of the Romania's Cernavoda NPP was shut down following a water pipe crack. The Cernavoda NPP's second unit was undergoing an overhaul, so it was not producing any electricity.
  • On 8 Apr 2009, the second reactor of the Romania's Cernavoda NPP was shut down due to a malfunction which led to electrical outages.
  • On Jan 16 2010, the first unit was shut down due to steam leakage.
  • On Jan 8 2011, the first unit was shut down for maintenance activities for a period of 48 hours.
Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant
Country Romania
Construction began 1980s
Commission date 2 December 1996
Operator(s) Nuclearelectrica

Reactor information
Reactors operational 2 x 700 MW
Reactors planned 2 x 750 MW

Power generation information
Annual generation 5,178 GW·h
Net generation 51,045 GW·h

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