Exim Bank US offers $3bn financing for Romanian nuclear reactors

Exim Bank US offers $3bn financing for Romanian nuclear reactors
Romania plans to build two new reactors of 700MW net each at its sole nuclear power plant at Cernavoda. / bne IntelliNews
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest November 10, 2022

Exim Bank US, the export credit agency of the United States, announced on November 9 the issuance of letters of interest regarding potential financing totalling over $3.05bn for the building of two new reactors at Romania’s sole nuclear plant Cernavoda NPP, operated by state-controlled Nuclearelectrica.

Under the project, two new reactors of 700MW net each would be completed by 2030 and 2031 respectively.

The cost of the project was estimated in 2021 at €7bn, but part of this accounts for the in-kind contribution of Nuclearelectrica (existing assets).

Romania’s strategy of becoming energy self-sufficient relies on renewable and nuclear resources, President Klaus Iohannis, attending the ceremony, stated.

He mentioned the small nuclear reactors (SNR) developed by the US in Romania and the agreement between Romania and US on the expansion of Cernavoda NPP.

The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded in October a grant of $14mn to RoPower Nuclear (RoPower), the project company for the development of the small modular reactors recently established by Nuclearelectrica and Nova Power & Gas.

The grant will be used for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) study to advance the development project of Romania’s first SMR nuclear power plant.

The financing letters announced by Exim Bank US are for amounts of $50mn and $3bn respectively, the head of Exim Bank US, Reta Jo Lewis, announced at the official letter-handing ceremony, held in Egypt, on the occasion of the UN Climate Change Conference.

Based on the preliminary information submitted, the $50mn loan is for pre-project engineering services as part of the engineering multiplier program (EMP) and the $3bn is for engineering and project management services for Units 3 and 4 Cernavoda NPP Completion Contract.

Based on the ROMATOM study on the capability of the Romanian nuclear industry to participate in the development of the Romanian nuclear programme, it is estimated that the local companies can contribute works and equipment worth €1bn-1.6bn to the project, which would represent between 25% to 40% of the total value of the expansion project.