Ansaldo Nucleare contracted for Cernavoda 1 refurb work

17 March 2023

Italy's Ansaldo Nucleare has signed a contract with Canada's SNC-Lavalin for the supply of engineering services for plant life extension of unit 1 at Romania's Cernavoda nuclear power plant. The project is one of the preparatory activities for modernisation awarded by Romania's nuclear energy company Nuclearelectrica to SNC-Lavalin.

The Cernavoda plant (Image: Ansaldo Nucleare)

As the original designer, Ansaldo Nucleare will be responsible for Balance of Plant work: the engineering and collection of information and data at this stage in the project will permit correct definition of the work required to extend the unit's operation.

The company said that, following the recent Condition Assessment and Design Modification contracts, this new contract represents "another step in Ansaldo Nucleare's historic partnership with Romania: the Genoese company has contributed to the completion and entry into service of units 1 and 2 at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant over the past 30 years and is now laying the foundations for future development of Romania's nuclear programme". It added: "Past experience and close collaboration with all the players involved opens up the path to future projects such as construction of units 3 and 4 at the power plant."

"We are particularly proud to be a part of this project, demonstrating the faith our partners have in us and our abilities," said Ansaldo Nucleare CEO Riccardo Casale. "As in the past, Ansaldo Nucleare will act as head of the Italian industry in Romania, bringing to the project not only its own contribution but the high-tech services and products of Italy's entire nuclear industry."

Earlier this month, SNC-Lavalin subsidiary Candu Energy signed a two-year USD65 million agreement with Nuclearelectrica to conduct pre-project work for the lifetime extension of Cernavoda unit 1. 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. As well as Ansaldo Nucleare, 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 refurbishment of the first 650 MWe pressurised heavy-water reactor, which was commissioned in 1996, is intended to extend its operating life for a further 30 years, to 2060. Unit 2 entered commercial operation in 2007.

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 and includes all the work required on it and its recommissioning.

"The refurbishment of unit 1 will continue to bring multiple benefits to Romania: clean, affordable, and safe energy, preserving high quality jobs, as well as creating new ones, investments in the community, an important contribution to local and national budget, as well as projects for the local supply chain, as part of our vision to create a sustainable future for the next generations," said Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghita.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News