BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania’s economy ministry will sign cooperation and financing agreements with the United States on Friday regarding the construction of two nuclear reactors at its plant on the river Danube, U.S. ambassador Adrian Zuckerman said on Thursday.
Romanian state-owned nuclear power producer Nuclearelectrica ended talks with China General Nuclear (CGN) about the construction of the two reactors in June after they had dragged on for six years.
The firm has two 706 megawatt reactors, which account for roughly a fifth of Romania’s power production, and it wants to add two more. It also needs to refurbish the first unit.
Economy Minister Virgil Popescu will sign an intergovernmental cooperation agreement with U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette for the refurbishment and the building of two new units, Zuckerman told a conference.
“This $8 billion project will be a paradigm for future Romanian-American economic and energy development projects,” he said, adding Popescu will also meet Exim Bank president Kimberley Reed to sign a memorandum of understanding for the financing of the nuclear units and other projects.
“The financing package is the largest financing package ever received by Romania to date,” he said.
The Romanian government, economy ministry and Nuclearelectrica did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Nuclearelectrica had initially planned to build the two reactors in partnership with six European energy firms. Those firms withdrew one by one between 2010 and 2013, feeling the impact of Europe’s then debt crisis and project delays.
China’s CGN filed a non-binding bid to partner with Romania in the project in 2014, but the negotiations, which included price guarantees, had progressed only very slowly.
Nuclearelectrica, in which Romania’s economy ministry has an 80% stake, has a market capitalisation of 4.95 billion lei ($1.20 billion).
Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Hugh Lawson
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