Romania’s nuclear energy project gets a boost from the United States, with President Joe Biden pledging USD14 million to fund its small modular reactor (SMR) project. This pioneering project is a product of the initiative that took off in Germany at the Group of Seven (G7) leader’s summit.
Dubbed the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), the G7 had committed last year to provide nearly USD600 billion in 5 years until 2027 from G7 countries to support the infrastructure requirements of low- and middle-income countries. The US alone had pledged over USD200 billion in private and public funding.
The SMR project will be a collaborative effort between the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and Romanian company Nuclearelectrica. It will cost over USD28 million and is estimated to take around eight months to complete. Ultimately, the project will have successfully deployed a NuScale VOYGR-6 SMR nuclear power plant.
Benefits of the SMR project
The project will have tremendous power generation and social impact. Its proponents estimate that the plant alone will create 193 permanent jobs and hundreds more in temporary construction work. But, most importantly, it will slash Romania’s CO2 emissions of 4 million tons annually.
The VOYGR-6 nuclear power plant is a derivative of the NuScale Power Module developed by Portland-based NuScale. This model involves a pressurized water reactor capable of generating 77 MWe. The VOYGR is the first SMR model approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and has been commercialized into four, six, and 12-module configurations.
Nuclearelectrica CEO Cosmin Ghi?? shared that in the end, the local community stands to benefit from small modular reactors. Its benefits include clean energy, economic growth, investments, tax funds, and knowledge transfer.
“Critical tool” in fight vs climate change
The project culminates a 2021 commitment made by US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow (COP26). Both leaders declared their plan to launch an SMR plant in Romania partnered with NuScale.
Kerry considered small module reactors a “critical tool” in the climate change battle by boosting Romania’s willingness to partner with the US in providing nuclear energy with zero emissions.
NuScale President CEO John Hopkins asserted this was a historic moment for Romania and the world. The partnership is “accelerating technology” to defeat climate change, boost energy security, and ensure a better tomorrow for all, said Hopkins.