The construction of reactors 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda Nuclear Plant could bring about EUR 3 billion into the local equipment industry, which would represent 40 percent of the total cost projection of the two units, according to Teodor Chirica, the former general manager of Nuclearelectrica and the president of the European nuclear industry association, FORATOM, cited by Cotidianul.
The revival of the project in Cernavoda would lead to high prosperity in the industry considering the potential size of equipment orders, said Chirica during an industry meeting.
This project, which was first proposed more than a decade ago, would be the biggest such in Romania’s post-communist history, with an estimated value of EUR 7.5 billion. The Romanian state eventually chose the China Nuclear Group as an investor, but the negotiations have not yet resulted in a contract, due to issues with the guarantees Romania can provide to satisfy the Chinese investors’ needs.
Energy minister Anton Anton said recently that a deadline for solving this issue is December 31, 2019.
According to Teodor Chirica, there is no consensus on nuclear power in the EU – France seems to be reluctant, Germany’s view oscillates, while the UK, so far the biggest advocate of development, is about to leave the Union. Therefore, the idea of Romania completing unit 3 using its own resources may gain more ground, as both the Energy minister and Chirica have said recently.
Even though Romania’s nuclear industry is much smaller than it has been in the past, it would still be able to take on a project as big as adding two new reactors at Cernavoda, as this had been the initial design of the plant.
“Only a professional unit would be able to help in restarting the energy industry, but the government must also get involved. I suggest we come up with a common manifesto, with concrete measures, to submit to the government,” said Emanuel Babici, the vice president of UZINSIDER.
Chirica agrees, noting that the government should begin adapting the educational curricula to the industry’s requirements and provide financial support for large projects in the form of certain state guarantees.
The energy equipment industry in Romania, as many other industries, is dealing with the lack of labour force, with few, aging specialists, as younger skilled people have left the country.
Luca Tosto, President of ARPE and owner Walter Tosto, formerly Fecne IMGB Bucharest, says that in order to bring Romanian specialists back to the country, the industry must offer good wages, and that the government could cut labour taxes in the field.
Romania’s energy industry has many export contracts, but is awaiting major investments in local projects, as most of the existing production infrastructure was built during the communist age, and it is worn out.