First small-scale nuclear reactor placed in Romania/Popescu: “Energy means security”

Evacuation from Kabul, Romanian defense ministry
Evacuation from Kabul, Romanian defense ministry

The first small modular reactor in Romania will be located in Doiceşti, in Dâmboviţa County. The announcement was made on Monday by the Minister of Energy, Virgil Popescu, together with US Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy, David Turk and charge d’affaires of the USA David Muniz. The 6-module NuScale power plant will generate 193 permanent jobs, 1,500 jobs in construction, 2,300 jobs in production and will help Romania to avoid producing 4 million tons of CO2 emissions per year. “Today, more than ever, it has been proven that energy means security”, stated Minister Virgil Popescu. 

The first small modular reactor (SMR) will be built on the site of the former Doiceşti thermal power plant, Dâmboviţa County, Romania. 

Ministry of Energy officials said the site was identified in a $1.2 million in-depth study received by Nuclearelectrica in early 2021 as part of a grant from the USTDA to identify and evaluate various sites for implementation of small modular reactors in Romania.

According to the Ministry of Energy, NuScale’s SMR technology, the first and only SMR technology in the world to be approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in August 2020, has the most advanced implementation plans, with contracts already confirmed for the development of its components.

Following the site selection, Romania has the potential to implement the first small modular reactors in Europe and to become a catalyst for the implementation of SMR in the region, especially in other countries within the Three Seas Initiative that want to strengthen energy security with a secure, stable, accessible and clean energy source and at the same time achieve its decarbonisation objectives.

The community in Doiceşti also has the potential for multiple benefits, while NuScale and Nuclearelectrica are taking steps to implement in Romania, in this decade, the first NuScale power plant with 6 modules, of 462 MWe. In March 2019, Nuclearelectrica and NuScale signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to evaluate the development, licensing and construction of a NuScale SMR in Romania. On October 9, 2020, Romania signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the United States in the field of nuclear energy projects, which was also ratified by the Romanian Parliament, by Law no. 199/2021, with broad support and being adopted by a majority of votes. Also, in October 2020, US Exim Bank expressed, through a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), with the Ministry of Energy, an interest in financing large investment projects in Romania, including those which are nuclear, totaling 7 billion of dollars.

In early 2021, Nuclearelectrica received $ 1.2 million in USTDA funding to identify and evaluate potential sites for small modular reactors. On November 4, 2021, at COP26, NuScale and Nuclearelectrica signed a collaboration agreement to advance the implementation of the first small modular reactor in Europe.

These important milestones represent the result of a strong nuclear relationship between Romania and the United States, which began in 1981, when President Reagan approved the first US Exim loan for the Cernavoda Unit 1 project.


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