Cernavoda (Romania)

Map of Cernavoda

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First CANDU (PHWR) 700 MW unit in Romenia, started operation in 1996, unit was constructed by AECL Initially 6 units were planned;
At this time also unit-2 was under construction, construction stopped because of lack of money. AECL/Canada and Ansaldo/Italy have completed the plant with a big loan from European Finance Institutions. Operation started in 2007.

- Reactor-Type: PHWR, model: Candu 6
- Capacity: 655 MWe
- Construction start: 1982
- Connection to net: July 1996
- Commercial operation since: Dec 1996

- Reactor-Type: PHWR, model: Candu 6
- Capacity: 650 MWe
- Construction start: 1983
- Connection to net: Aug. 2007
- Commercial operation since: Oct. 2007

Facilities in Cernavoda

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down


Cernavoda unit stopped because of malfunction
28.02.10 | by: Nine oClock | in: business

Cernavoda nuclear plant´s unit two was briefly stopped yesterday morning, because of a leak of
primary agent within the reactor´s protective building. "No problems were registered in
connection with protection of employees, equipment and environment, as the entire security
system functioned in line with regulations," Nuclearelectrica, the company which operates the
plant, said in a release. The unit is to be restarted and synchronized with the National Energy
System after plant officials determine the causes of the leak, fix the malfunction, and perform
conformity tests to make sure everything is in working order.

distributed by Jan Haverkamp over the no-nukes list

Unplanned stop of Unit 2 at Cernavoda NPP

Today, 7th April 2009, arround 15:00, Unit 2 from the Cernavoda NPP was
switched off from the National Grid System due to the loss of electricity
supply of 2 pumps from the Primary Cooling Circuit. The loss of electricity
supply mentioned above was caused by a trip in an interruption circuit

[the GP RO translation read: gusty (intempestive) action of the protections
planned in the project of the circuit of an interuptor. JH] All the security
systems functioned as projected and the staff followed the procedures
needed in these situations. Unit 2 will be restarted on Thursday, 9th April
2009, approximately at lunchtime.
(source: press release of, translation by


Since Cernavoda Unit I was connected to the grid it was producing some 10% of overall produced electricity and also supplying heat to the town of Cernavoda. Same time electricity demand was falling down in Romania, until last year when it has stabilised, leaving Romania with 11,700 MW overcapacity (roughly half of the installed capacity). FOE Europe argues that since electricity consumption is steadily decreasing in Romania, the Cernavoda Unit II reactor which is under construction is superfluous. This new output is with no doubt intended for export, mainly into the EU market.


A major outage of the Cernavoda reactor happened in August 2003 because a record drought left insufficient water to cool down the reactor. The reactor was out of operation until September 17 when the Danube water raised to a sufficient level.


Romania's Societatae Nationala Nuclearelectrica S.A. (SNN) expects to sign soon-perhaps the last of eight loan agreements supporting its project to complete the Cernavoda-2 PHWR.

The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs & International Trade announced that Export Development Canada (EDC) would guarantee U.S.$210-million worth of supplies by AECL, representing the nuclear island components for Cernavoda-2.

EDC provided loans, which have been repaid, for construction of the first Cernavoda unit. Loans for the second unit are to be repaid by 2006, about the time that the reactor is scheduled to enter service. Cernavoda-2 is about 40% complete and is identical to unit 1, which has been in operation since December 1996.

EDC is considered the leader of the lending consortium because AECL has the largest single piece of the proposed Cernavoda-2 supply. Besides AECL, major suppliers are Ansaldo SpA, for contract management, some secondary-side equipment and engineering; France's Nexans for cabling; Alstom for diesel generators, and GE for the main turbine-generator set.

SNN has also asked the European Commission (EC) to approve a Euratom loan of about $350-million for the project, designed to cover mostly safety improvements and local participation. The Romanian government in mid-2000 declared comple-tion of Cernavoda-2 a national priority,

The Sierra Club has claimed in the past that as a western-design reactor, Cernavoda-2 isn't eligible for a Euratom loan, since the EC in 1994 extended the Euratom loan instrument to projects outside of European Union (EU) member states for the express purpose of improving nuclear safety in central and eastern Europe.

SNN argued that the Euratom loan is predicated partly on safety improvements suggested by independent consultants to the EC, and some on improvements made to the Candu-6 units recently built in South Korea and China. For example, the original epoxy liner of Cernavoda-2's spent fuel bay will be replaced by a stainless steel liner, as implemented by AECL at Qinshan-III, which will be more expensive but will enhance the bay's safety.

The EC late last year requested that the EU Council approve an increase in the ceiling for the Euratom loan instrument, precisely to permit the EC to ap-prove
the Eur 200-million loan to SNN for Cernavoda-2. In lending EU money to entities in non-EU-member states, the EC "has to demonstrate that safety is improved," an EC offi-cial said. That demonstration wasn't as simple for Cernavoda-2 as for VVER completion projects because of the original Western reactor design, he said, but the consultants' reports confirmed that Euratom financing could support nuclear
safety enhancements even at a Candu unit.

On November 20th, 2002 ? international NGOs made public an independent review by the authoritative Austrian Institute for Applied Ecology of the Environmental Impact Assessment studies for the controversial project of completion of the 700 MW CANDU reactor of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania. According to the report, the summary of Romanian EIA made public by the Romanian government is incomplete, not systematic, not understandable because of the lack of relevant maps and data. Since international NGOs have been denied access to the full document by Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) involved in project financing, it is impossible to evaluate whether all needed data have been properly collected and all project impacts seriously assessed by EIA authors. Export Development Canada, SACE from Italy, COFACE from France and US Eximbank are ready to issue export credits and investment insurances amounting to 433 million dollars for the project. Thus, the whole debt exposure allowed by the IMF to Romania for this and next year would be used only for nuclear projects in a country still facing a hard economic crises and different foreign investment needs. Despite reassurences by the Romanian government, according to Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association the CANDU reactor design has not changed fundamentally in the last ten years. The Austrian Institute for Applied Ecology identified the following deficiencies in the EIA Summary: + outstanding safety problems and necessary improvements, which are included in several technical missions from the past years, have not been addressed at all in the current EIA summary; + the earthquake risk for the NPP Cernavoda is grossly underestimated by a factor two, even though Romanian is one of the most active earthquake regions in Europe; + there is no justification for the conclusion that no risk from external events as flooding, explosions or airplane crash exists; + the estimation of the overall risk for accidents with large radioactive releases is underestimated comparing with Western European standards; + there is no sufficient database provided to verify the transport calculations for the impact of radioactive effluents to air and water for accident conditions and all calculations do not consider meteorological data at all; + no permanent monitoring of the water quality and special protection measures in case of contamination are provided, even for waterbodys used for drinking by villages and towns in project area. "Even the European Union", stated Olexi Pasyuk of the Eastern European NGO network CEE Bankwatch, "admitted in the last Regular Accession Report for Romania that unresolved issues of spent fuel and nuclear waste will have to be addressed in the short-term, nuclear safety standards should be handled appropriately and longer-term solutions needed to be found for radioactive waste. Today the Romanian government cannot guarantee nuclear safety at Cernavoda and consequently all over Europe. ECAs should request many tangible improvements in the EIA study before going ahead with project financing". NGOs request that ECAs make public the full EIA study and the seismic and thermal related studies, as well as all safety reports due to IAEA by the end of 2003, before project approval. "ECAs do not want to make public the whole EIA", stated Pamela Foster at the Halifax Initiative in Canada, "opportunistically branding the confidentiality reason, nor to adequately consult with civil society and local communities. We have the right to know the environmental conditions attached to the loan agreement since project approval now could easily lead to a project default on environmental grounds that would oblige ECAs to pay off claims to companies and banks with taxpayers' money. By this further Christmas present to AECL, EDC would better change its name in Export Nuclear Canada". Romania has not notified the EIA study to neighbouring countries, including Bulgaria, until now, as requested under the UN/ECE Espoo Convention on EIA in a Transboundary Context. Bulgarian environmental authorities are considering the possibility to call for an official inquiry procedure under the Convention to protest against the violation of international environmental law. "By supporting Cernavoda 2", said Antonio Tricarico at Campagna per la riforma della Banca mondiale in Italy, ""ECAs would give more power to the old Romanian nuclear bureaucracy from the Ceausescu regime which is still very influent in Romania. As all nuclear projects, Cernavoda 2 is not economically viable and competitive with non-nuclear alternatives and would not benefit the Romanians, since electricity produced at Cernavoda would be completely exported to Italy and other Western European countries. Security measures are ridicolous at Cernavoda. If something goes wrong European citizens would know who has made possible and is responsible for a new nuclear disaster"". Project approval still remains a problem for US Eximbank, which should make public the full official EIA document according to its mandatory nuclear guidelines. In particular, Eximbank is going to present a specific memorandum on the Cernavoda 2 project to the US Congress for approval in the next days. "It is anachronistic", declared Michael Mariotte at Nuclear Information Research and Services in US, "that ECAs support new nuclear projects with taxpayers' money. The Romanian government has made it clear that it will never made public the project EIA. We believe that US Congress will understand that the project is illegal and if Eximbank goes ahead under these conditions would be liable for violating its own guidelines." "NPP Cernovoda 2 - Comments to the documents provided for the EIA" by the Austrian Institute for Applied Ecology on behalf of Campagna per la riforma della Banca Mondiale

Work resumed at the site in mid-January, since Romanians reassured Canada and Italy that they could repay the current billion dollar debt and come up with the small amount of 100 million $ needed to link unit-1 to the grid.
The plant was initially in 1979 funded with 680 million$ from Canada's Export Development Corp.(EDC) and 320 million$ from Canadian banks.
In 1981 Ansaldo was awarded the contract for balance of the plant and GE the contract for the turbine generators. 1982 EDC had advanced 680 million $.
Ceacescu dicided to end all foreign debt and repaid all foreign loans, including the 680 million $, which stopped work at the plant.
In 1992 a new agreement followed by Renel and the Romanian government with AECL, Ansaldo and GE. EDC committed 315 million $, the Italiens 150 million $ and Romania were to provide about 100 million $. The unit is expected to achieve criticality in February and to be at service in summer.


AECL/ Ansaldo consortium is in charge of finding financing to finish unit-2, which is 35% complete.


Start of fuel loding !! - after 15 years of construction work with several delays ...
natural uranium core was loaed in June 1995 & heavy water loading was finished at end of July.
Slightly more than 150 t of the 500 t were supplied from the Romanian HW plant, the remainder has been leased from AECL.
Start up is expected for October.