Romania cancels agreement with China on building nuclear reactors

Romania cancels agreement with China on building nuclear reactors
 
 The Bucharest government has told the state-run Cernvoda plant to find new partners to build two new nuclear reactors.

The Romanian government asked on Tuesday the state-owned Nuclearelectrica, which runs the Cernavoda nuclear power plant, to suspend negotiations with its Chinese partner, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (GCNPC) for building the nuclear reactors 3 and 4 in Cernavoda.

The government said the Nuclearelectrica should find new partners for the project. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Nuclearelectrica and GCNPC in November 2015, to build the two reactors. According to the document, the two sides had to set up a joint venture company, in which the Chinese company would hold at least 51% of the shares.

The new joint venture was planned to take over the investment value of the Nuclearelectrica in its EnergoNuclear SA subsidiary, the former company that was to take over the project for reactors 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda plant. In May 2019, the Ministry of Energy, under the leadership of former Social Democrat Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, signed another agreement with the Chinese company, regarding an investment of 200 million euros per year by GCNPC.

But the current prime minister, Ludovic Orban, condemned the agreement in January 2020. "It is clear to me that it will not work with the Chinese. We will see with which partner the reactors will be built. It's about partners and funds," Orban said in an interview with Hotnews.

Economy Minister Virgil Popescu said in January 2020 that the Nuclearelectrica could build Reactor 3 in Cernavoda itself, adding that a new joint project with a NATO partner would be a more valuable scenario. Romania is a close ally of the United States, and its withdrawal from key agreements with Beijing is likely to have been influenced by the dramatic cooling of US-China relations since Donald Trump took office in Washington.

In April 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice accused China’s General Nuclear Energy Corporation, along with Energy Technology International, of nuclear espionage. The United States justified the accusation, citing "the conspiracy to engage and participate illegally in the production and development of special nuclear material outside the United States, without the necessary authorization from the US Department of Energy.".

The Romanian Ministry of Energy holds a majority stake in Nuclearelectrica with 82.49%, while the Property Fund owns 7.05% and other shareholders have 10.45%. Shares of Nuclearelectrica have risen 34.4% on the Bucharest Stock Exchange since the beginning of 2020. The increase was linked to transactions worth of 168.3 million lei (about 35m euros).
Romania cancels agreement with China on building nuclear reactors Romania cancels agreement with China on building nuclear reactors Saturday, June 20, 2020 Rating: 5
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