Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant

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Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant
The Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant
Coordinates44°19′20″N 28°03′26″E / 44.32222°N 28.05722°E / 44.32222; 28.05722Coordinates: 44°19′20″N 28°03′26″E / 44.32222°N 28.05722°E / 44.32222; 28.05722
Construction beganUnit 1: 1 July 1982
Unit 2: 1 July 1983
Unit 3: 9 February 1984
Unit 4: 15 August 1985
Unit 5: 12 May 1987
Commission dateUnit 1: 2 December 1996
Unit 2: 31 October 2007
Nuclear power station
Reactor typeCANDU PHWR
Reactor supplierAECL
Thermal capacity2 × 2180 MWth
Power generation
Units operational2 × 650 MW
Make and modelCANDU 6
Units planned2 × 655 MW (suspended construction)
Units cancelled1 × 655 MW (cancelled at 2.8% complete)
Nameplate capacity1300 MW
Capacity factor92.90% (2017)
92.05% (lifetime) 94.7%
Annual net output10,580 GWh (2017)
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons
Unit 1
The nuclear power plant in 2006. At the time, only Unit One, on the far right was in commercial operation, unit two came into operation in 2007.

The Nuclear Power Plant in Cernavodă (Romanian: Centrala Nucleară de la Cernavodă) is a nuclear power plant in Romania. It produces around 20% of the country's electricity. It uses CANDU reactor technology from AECL, using heavy water produced at Drobeta-Turnu Severin as its neutron moderator and as its coolant agent. The Danube water is not used for cooling of the active zone (nuclear fuel).

By using nuclear power, Romania is able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by over 10 million tonnes each year.[citation needed]

The project began in 1978, and the power plant was designed in Canada by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited in the 1980s, and was contracted during the Communist era. The initial plan was to build five units, and schedule their startup from 1985 onwards. Units 1 and 2 are currently operational. Three more partially completed CANDU reactors exist on the same site, part of a project discontinued at the fall of the Ceauşescu regime, their work being halted since 1 December 1990.

CNE-INVEST is responsible for the preservation of Units 3-5.


Unit 1[edit]

Unit 1, a CANDU 6-type, was finished in 1996 and produces 705.6 MW of electricity. Its scheduled startup, however, would have been circa 1985, had it not been for the economic factors at the time.

It was commissioned and began operating at full power in 1996 and has had record capacity factors of 90 percent since 2005.

In 2019 planning was progressing for a modernisation scheme for 30 years of plant life, to be carried out by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power who have experience of CANDU modernisation at Wolseong. A refurbishment outage is expected from December 2026 and December 2028.[1][2]

Unit 2[edit]

A consortium of AECL and Ansaldo Nucleare of Italy, along with the Nuclearelectrica (SNN) SA, Romania’s nuclear public utility, was contracted in 2003 to manage the construction of the partially completed Unit 2 power plant and to commission it into service.

Four years later, Unit 2, another CANDU 6-reactor, achieved criticality on 6 May 2007[3] and was connected to the national grid on 7 August. It began operating at full capacity on 12 September 2007,[4] also producing 706 MW.

Unit 2 was officially commissioned on Friday, October 5, 2007 during ceremonies attended by Romanian Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu and senior officials from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).[5] This makes CNE-Cernavoda Station the third largest power producer in the country.

Future expansion[edit]

Units 3 and 4[edit]

Units 3 and 4 were expected to be CANDU 6 reactors with a similar design to Unit 2 and will each have a capacity of 720 MW.[6] The project was estimated to take up to six years after the contracts are signed.

In a feasibility study carried out by Deloitte and Touche, the most economically viable scenario would be to build the two phases at the same time, with the cost estimated at €2.3 billion.

On 20 November 2008, Nuclearelectrica, ArcelorMittal, ČEZ, GDF Suez, Enel, Iberdrola and RWE agreed to set up a joint company dedicated to the completion, commissioning and operation of Units 3 and 4. The company named Energonuclear was registered in March 2009.[7]

20 January 2011, GDF Suez, Iberdrola and RWE pulled out of the project, following ČEZ which had already left in 2010, citing "Economic and market-related uncertainties surrounding this project, related for the most part to the present financial crisis, are not reconcilable now with the capital requirements of a new nuclear power project".[8] That left Nuclearelectrica with large majority share in the project, prompting a search for other investors. In November 2013, China General Nuclear Power Corp. (CGN) signed an agreement to invest in the project at an undisclosed level. Shortly thereafter, AcelorMittal and Enel announced plans to sell their stakes.[9]

In 2016 the Romanian government gave support for the creation of a joint venture led by China General Nuclear (CGN) to progress the project.[10][11] In November 2015 Nuclearelectrica and CGN signed an memorandum of understanding regarding the construction, operation and decommissioning of Cernavoda 3 and 4.[12] However in January 2020 the Romanian government decided to abandon the proposal..[2]

Unit 5[edit]

There are currently no plans to complete Unit 5 at this time.[13] However, the possibility of finishing construction remains.


  • In the summer of 2003, the sole operating reactor at the time had to be closed, because of the lack of cooling water. It was brought back online after roughly 2-3 months.
  • On 8 Apr 2009, the second reactor of the Romania's Cernavoda NPP was shut down due to a malfunction which led to electrical outages.[14]
  • On 30 May 2009, Unit 1 of the Romania's Cernavoda NPP was shut down following a water pipe crack. The Cernavoda NPP's second unit was undergoing an overhaul, so it was not producing any electricity.[15]
  • On 16 January 2010, the first unit was shut down due to steam leakage.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "KHNP teams up with Sargent & Lundy for Romanian project". World Nuclear News. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Romania cancels China deal on Cernavoda but proceeds with life extension". Nuclear Engineering International. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  3. ^ Cernavoda 2 achieves initial criticality Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^, Reactorul 2 de la Cernavoda a ajuns la capacitate maxima ("The second unit at the Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant reached at full capacity ") Archived 2007-10-15 at the Wayback Machine, September 12, 2007
  5. ^ 2007 News Releases - Second CANDU Unit in European Union Officially In Service Archived November 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ 12 February 2010
  7. ^ "Draft agreement finalized for Romanian reactors". World Nuclear News. 2008-03-07. Archived from the original on 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
  8. ^ 20 January 2011: GDF SUEZ, RWE and Iberdrola have decided not to continue to participate in the Cernavoda nuclear project in Romania
  9. ^ "UPDATE 2-RWE, Iberdrola, GDF Suez exit Romania nuclear plan". Reuters. 20 January 2011.
  10. ^ "Romania expresses support for China's role at Cernavoda". World Nuclear News. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Romania and China seal Cernavoda agreement". World Nuclear News. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Romania and USA agree to nuclear cooperation". World Nuclear News. 26 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ Romania's Cernavoda Nuclear Plant Restarts 2nd Reactor, Mediafax, 2009-04-09
  15. ^ Romania’s Nuclearelectrica Shuts Down Nuke Over Water Pipe Crack, Mediafax 2009-05-30
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2010-01-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]