US Exim Bank offers finance for Cernavoda 3 and 4

09 November 2022

The Export-Import Bank (Exim) - the USA's official export credit agency - has issued two Letters of Interest for the financing of US-sourced pre-project technical services at the Cernavoda 3 and 4 nuclear power project in Romania.

Exim President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis, alongside Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and President of Romania Klaus Iohannis, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu, and Geoffrey Pyatt, Assistant Secretary at the State Department, announced the issuance of two letters of interest (Image: Exim Bank)

According to Romanian utility Nuclearelectrica, based on the preliminary information submitted, Exim would be able to consider financing up to USD50 million of the US export contract for pre-project engineering services as part of the engineering multiplier programme and up to USD3 billion of the US export contract for engineering and project management services for the completion of the partially-built Cernavoda units 3 and 4.

The US Exim Letters of Intent, which were announced at the COP27 conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, follow the memorandum of understanding signed in October 2020, in which Exim expressed an interest to finance major energy investment projects in Romania, including nuclear ones, up to a total value of USD7 billion.

Cernavoda is the only nuclear power plant in Romania and consists of two 650 MWe pressurised heavy-water reactors. Unit 1 went into commercial operation in 1996 and unit 2 in 2007. Operator Nuclearelectrica plans to extend the operating life of unit 1 to 60 years. 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. In July 2020, Romania launched a tender for a new feasibility study to complete units 3 and 4.

Nuclearelectrica said the strategy for completing Cernavoda 3 and 4 is being implemented in three stages, in accordance with the international experience in the construction of nuclear power plants.

Stage 1 started at the end of 2021 and represents the preparatory stage. This stage will last up to 24 months, during which a set of engineering and safety documentation necessary for the project re-start will be prepared/up-dated, required to substantiate a preliminary investment decision.

Stage 2 of the project consists of performing preliminary works and is estimated to last up to 30 months. This stage will consist in preparation of critical engineering for the definition of the project, structuring and contracting financing and agreeing upon an adequate contractual architecture for the implementation of the project, obtaining the construction licence, reassessing the feasibility of the project based upon updated technical and economic indicators and making the final investment decision.

Stage 3 of the project consists of site mobilisation, start of the construction works, commissioning and start of the commercial operation of unit 3 in 2030 and unit 4 in 2031.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News