US to provide $3 billion for European nuclear project

The United States will provide funding worth more than $3 billion for the construction of two new nuclear reactors in Romania.

The funding will be granted by the Washington-based Export-Import Bank (EXIM), an export credit agency, enabling Romania to cover “about a third of the amount necessary for the construction of two reactors” at the Cernavoda plant, Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca said.

The rest of the funding will come from other financing, Ciuca added, without providing further details.

The existing Cernavoda nuclear power plant has been operational since the 1990s. With two reactors and a total a capacity of 1,400 MW, it covers approximately one fifth of the country’s electricity needs.

Ciuca hailed the deal, signed during the UN climate summit COP27 in Egypt, as “an important step” towards the country’s “energy independence” amid global energy uncertainty aggravated by the war in Ukraine.

The construction of two additional nuclear reactors at Cernavoda is slated to start “in March/April 2023” and is expected to be completed in 2030, he added.

EXIM finances exports of US goods and services, but it was not immediately clear which US firm or firms would construct the reactors.

Six European companies — GDF Suez, Iberdrola, CEZ, RWE, Enel and ArcelorMittal — had initially committed to the project in 2008, before pulling out on due to uncertainties surrounding the future of the plant, according to reports.