Romania Announces Plans to Terminate Nuclear Expansion Agreement with Chinese Firm Due to Security Issues

On May 27, it was reported that the country’s state nuclear energy producer, Nuclearelectrica, will seek shareholder approval for termination of its agreement with China General Nuclear Power (CGN) for the construction of Units III and IV of Cernavoda nuclear power plant (NPP) – Romania’s sole operational power plant.  Romanian media reports that the decision was made as a result of security issues arising from the use of Chinese technology.  The Cernavoda NPP currently produces approximately 20% of the country’s power.

The decision comes at the instruction of the government’s Ministry of Economy, but follows earlier indications of this outcome from January 2020 that came from  Romania’s Prime Minister, Ludovic Orban.   Nuclearelectrica is expected to formally confirm the decision at the General Meeting of the Shareholders scheduled for June 12.

CGN’s participation in the Cernavoda project was originally arranged under a 2015 Memorandum of Understanding regarding the $7.7 billion NPP expansion project.  It is suspected that the decision is, in part, related to the CGN agreement conflicting with the memorandum of strategic nuclear cooperation signed between the U.S. and Romania in September 2019,  which envisions nuclear technology sharing.

Separately in 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce sanctioned CGN for its efforts to procure advanced U.S. nuclear technology and material and divert them for military use.  CGN was also previously indicted by the U.S. Justice Department for industrial espionage in 2016.  It is unclear if these actions directly impacted Romania’s decision to terminate its CGN partnership.