Romania to finish nuclear reactors

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania is expecting letters of interest from potential investors in the third and fourth nuclear reactors planned for its Cernavoda power plant by June 23, the plant’s owner Nuclearelectrica said yesterday. The Black Sea country operates only one 706.5-megawatt Canadian Candu reactor in Cernavoda. It plans to launch the second later this year. «Letters of interest are being requested from parties interested in investing in excess of 50 million euros ($63.8 million) in the development of units 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant,» Nuclearelectrica said on its website. Last month, the Economy Ministry said a feasibility study showed the optimal solution is to build the two units simultaneously, with work expected to start next year. The study put construction costs at 2.2 billion euros, including decommissioning of nuclear waste. Annual operating costs were expected to reach 100 million euros. Nuclearelectrica also said the seven investors that qualified as potential candidates for the project in late 2004 need to confirm their interest under the new conditions. Investors that qualified in 2004 included Italy’s utility Enel and energy equipment maker Ansaldo, steel giant Mittal Steel, Atomic Energy of Canada, Turkish financial group Cenk Demir, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and an association of Romanian nuclear equipment suppliers. Works at the Cernavoda plant, designed to have five reactors, began 30 years ago but stopped in 1990 when a survey revealed some of the equipment was in poor condition and the welding faulty. The plant’s first reactor went on stream in 1996 and accounts for more than 10 percent of the European Union candidate’s power generation.