Romania’s nuclear plant operator has postponed a two-day shutdown of one of the plant’s reactors for repair work as officials decided to keep it running to ensure a steady supply of power during unusually frigid weather.
Energy Minister Virgil Popescu confirmed Monday evening that there had been an increase in demand for electricity and natural gas as temperatures plummeted in recent days, but said Romania was able to meet the extra demand.
However, he said that without keeping the one of the plant’s 700 MW reactors running, Romania would have had to import electricity during the current cold spell.
„If we taken the unit out of production, we’d have had to import (power),” he said. „I took the decision with specialists,” to postpone the shutdown, he told national news agency Agerpres.
The plant which has been operational for 25 years meets about 20% of Romania’s electricity needs.
„There is no nuclear security risk,” he added. „Nobody plays with something like that.”
The state-owned nuclear power producer Nuclearelectrica which operates the country’s only nuclear power plant in the southeastern town of Cernavoda on the River Danube had originally scheduled the closure of one of the 700 MW units from January 15-16.
But polar weather spread to Romania just before the weekend and is expected to last until Wednesday with subzero temperatures across the country, as low as minus 20 C in some places.
„We postponed the shutdown by a week, until this cold spell passes in the next 3-4 days and then we can repair the unit,” the minister said.
The postponement of the controlled shutdown will have no impact on the normal operation of Unit 1, nuclear safety, staff or the general population, Nuclearelectrica said in a press release on Friday, economica.net reported.
The operator announced last week that it would temporarily close Cernavoda NPP’s Unit 1 for repair works due to dysfunction in one of the circuits.
S.N. Nuclearelectrica SA’s shares traded 0.63% higher at 19.06 lei (one euro= 4.874 lei) on the BVB Bucharest stock exchange at 5.54pm when markets closed.
In May 2020, the Nuclearelectrica terminated its partnership with China General Nuclear (CGN) for the building the two reactors, after six years.
The Romanian firm already plans to add two more reactors to the two it already has.
Exim US intends to support strategic investments in Romania and provide financing lines of approximately 7 billion US dollars.