Electricity

US earmarks USD 275 million for SMR nuclear project in Romania

US USD 275 million SMR nuclear Romania

Photo: NuScale

Published

May 24, 2023

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Published:

May 24, 2023

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The G7 Leaders Summit was an opportunity for the United States to reveal the intention to facilitate up to USD 275 million in financing for the small modular reactor that NuScale plans to install in Romania.

A public-private initiative is underway under the auspices of the administration of US President Joe Biden to advance the deployment of a VOYGR unit in Doicești in central Romania, in the Muntenia region. A financing package of up to USD 275 million has been prepared for the small modular reactor or SMR, according to a statement released at the margins of the Leaders Summit of the Group of Seven in Hiroshima.

The commitments for the nuclear energy project are from the US, Japan, South Korea and United Arab Emirates, among others, the announcement shows. In particular, the funds are envisaged for the procurement of long lead materials, phase 2 front-end engineering and design (FEED), provision of project management expertise, site characterization and regulatory analyses and the development of site-specific schedule and budget estimates for project execution.

Pioneering SMR technology

The SMR technology is still in its infancy, mostly applied in pilot projects. There are no such nuclear power plants yet in Europe, but many countries are interested. The recent advances, together with the impact of the energy crisis, strengthened political support for a nuclear power revival. France is spearheading a group of 14 European Union member states which it called the Nuclear Alliance.

The VOYGR technology was developed by US-based NuScale Power. Together with RoPower Nuclear, owned in equal shares by Nova Power & Gas and state-owned Nuclearelectrica, it is conducting a phase 1 FEED study of the site – a former coal power plant. The companies aim to deploy a power plant with an electricity capacity of 462 MW, consisting of six small reactors.

The US Export-Import Bank (EXIM) and US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) have issued letters of interest for potential support of up to USD 3 billion and USD 1 billion, respectively, for project deployment, NuScale said.

“Support from the Biden administration and international partners is a signal to energy markets around the world that NuScale SMRs are an important new technology solution to global decarbonization and that Romania has the capabilities and experience to support its deployment,” President and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins said. “We are thrilled public-private partnerships are helping deploy our leading SMR technology as soon as 2029.”

New generation of engineers, scientists to be trained on simulator set up at University Politechnica

The company’s partners include the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, DS Private Equity from South Korea, EXIM Bank Romania and the UAE’s Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp.

Earlier this month, NuScale and Nuclearelectrica opened the first international NuScale Energy Exploration Center (E2 Center) in Europe, in collaboration with the US and Romanian governments. The SMR simulator was installed at the University Politechnica of Bucharest.

NuScale is developing a pressurized water reactor that can generate 77 MW of electricity, or 250 MW of thermal energy in gross terms. The company explained that it would be able to combine as many as 12 modules or 924 MW of electricity, depending on the customer’s needs. VOYGR is the first and only SMR to have its design certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Earlier, in November 2021, Nuclearelectrica and NuScale Power signed an agreement to deploy the technology in Romania by the end of the decade. Fluor, NuScale’s biggest shareholder, is envisaged to coordinate engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) in Doicești.

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