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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Korea joins consortium for $2B nuclear project in Romania

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The Unit 1 reactor, right, at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in Romania. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) on Thursday signed a consortium agreement for the reactor refurbishment project for the Cernavoda Unit 1 reactor. [KHNP]
The Unit 1 reactor, right, at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in Romania. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) on Thursday signed a consortium agreement for the reactor refurbishment project for the Cernavoda Unit 1 reactor. [KHNP]

Korea is participating in a 1.85 billion euro ($1.97 billion) project for a nuclear plant refurbishment in Romania through a tripartite consortium.

State-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) on Thursday signed an agreement with Canada’s Candu Energy and Italy’s Ansaldo Nucleare to form a consortium for the refurbishment and re-tubing of Unit 1 reactor at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in the Eastern European country.

The signing ceremony was held at Romania’s state-owned Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN) headquarters in Bucharest.

The refurbishment project, which includes infrastructure construction, is expected to be worth up to 1.85 billion euros, according to KHNP. The main contract with SNN is expected to be awarded within the first half of 2024.

The stakes of the consortium members have not yet been finalized. But KHNP is estimated to hold around 40 percent.

The latest consortium agreement follows KHNP’s 195 million euro nuclear win from Romania’s SNN in June. KHNP is set to build a tritium removal facility for the Cernavoda nuclear power plant by August 2027.

The Cernavoda nuclear plant is located 170 kilometers (106 miles) east of Bucharest in Romania.

The refurbishment of Cernavoda Unit 1 is to extend the operational life span of the nuclear reactor, which was commissioned in 1996. The 700-megawatt Candu-6 reactor model has a design lifetime of 30 years.

As the initial operating license of the Unit 1 reactor is set to expire by the end of 2026, key components such as pressure tubes, turbines and generator internals will be replaced from 2027 until 2029 for license renewal.

KHNP will handle construction, which includes infrastructure construction of radioactive waste storage for the plant and more.

Candu, the designer and manufacturer of the original equipment, and Ansaldo, which designed the Cernavoda Units 1 and 2, will handle procurement and engineering.

The three parties will now prepare for the proposal before the contract negotiation begins with SNN.

Upon the signing of the main contract, Korean nuclear suppliers such as Doosan Enerbility are likely to take part in the Romanian project.

“KHNP has a strong relationship of trust with the Romanian nuclear agency,” said KHNP CEO Whang Joo-ho.

“We will do our best and work closely with our partners and SNN to win the main contract,” added Whang.

The Yoon Suk Yeol administration has focused on boosting the Korean nuclear sector with an aim to export 10 nuclear power plants by 2030, pivoting from the previous Moon Jae-in government’s phaseout policy.

BY SHIN HA-NEE [shin.hanee@joongang.co.kr]