Bucharest, September 28, 2023 – by rbj – SN Nuclearelectrica S.A. and Laurentis Energy Partners, a subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation (OPG), signed on Thursday, in Paris, a memorandum for the production of medical isotopes at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant (CNE) and to explore the development of heavy water production in Romania, informs the Ministry of Energy .
“On the occasion of the official visit to Canada, we outlined the steps to follow. And we are already taking them. We are proud that Romania demonstrates not only top performance in the safe operation of our CANDU reactors at Cernavodă, but also leadership and strategic vision by exploring the production of medical isotopes and heavy water in partnership with Canada. It is a significant step to help improve the health of millions of people and demonstrate the multiple benefits of nuclear power plants, which generate clean energy, contribute to energy stability, decarbonization and economic growth and support cancer treatment. Equally important is the project to restart the production of heavy water in Romania, an initiative started during the mandate of former minister Virgil Popescu. The global demand for heavy water is on a spectacular rise, and Romania can be a strategic player,” he stated Sebastian Burduja, Minister of Energy, according to the quoted statement.
According to him, Romania and Canada thus set an example to other countries about the important role of nuclear energy.
This approach comes immediately after the announcement of funding from the Government of Canada for reactors 3 and 4 at Cernavodă.
The memorandum was concluded in the context of the over 55-year partnership between Romania and Canada in the field of nuclear energy and the announcement made by Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, to support the development of Units 3 and 4 project with 3 billion Canadian dollars from CNE Cernavodă, which strengthens energy security and supports the production of clean energy.
The agreement was formalized on Thursday, with the president and general director of OPG, Ken Hartwick, and the general director of SNN, Cosmin Ghiţă, signing a Memorandum of Understanding, in the presence of the Romanian Minister of Energy, Sebastian Burduja. The signing took place in the context of the conference organized in Paris by the Nuclear Energy Agency – “Roadmap for the new nuclear sector”, which will host over 21 international ministers and hundreds of industry professionals.
“SNN is proud to partner with Laurentis, a world leader in the field of nuclear isotopes, and thus contribute directly to the healthcare industry by expanding our project portfolio through the production of isotopes. Today, the nuclear industry is essential for power generation clean and for the production of medical isotopes, and this partnership is a way to advance the global solutions so necessary in the medical field”, said Cosmin Ghiţă, general director of Nuclearelectrica.
Jason Van Wart, president and CEO of Laurentis Energy Partners, showed, in context, that Laurentis is committed to capitalizing on proven expertise in the field of retrofitting and isotope production to advance healthcare solutions and expand opportunities in Romania.
Isotopes play an essential role in medicine, cancer treatment, medical imaging, sterilization of medical devices, new drug development, neutron research, border security, food preservation, and much more. Heavy water, which CANDU reactors use as a moderator and coolant, can also be used in a growing number of non-nuclear applications, including pharmaceuticals, medical diagnostics and high-end electronics, such as optical fibers and OLED screens.
Laurentis and its parent company, OPG, are recognized world leaders in the field of nuclear isotopes produced by CANDU reactors at Darlington and Pickering nuclear power stations. Laurentis opened its first office in Bucharest in 2020, where it operates through its subsidiary, Canadian Nuclear Partners S.A. (CNPSA), which is part of the country’s regulated nuclear industry.
Nuclearelectrica owns and operates two CANDU units at the Cernavodă nuclear power plant, recognized to be ranked 1st and 3rd internationally in terms of capacity factor, and has plans to develop additional units in the future.
Laurentis and Nuclearelectrica previously signed two contracts in support of the re-engineering of SNN’s Cernavodă Unit 1, the first to develop a conservation program in order to protect the integrity of the reactor’s water systems and the second contract as an engineer for the CANDU technology owner to provide technical assistance.
Compania Naţională Nuclearelectrica SA is the Romanian national company producing electricity, heat and nuclear fuel that operates under the authority of the Ministry of Energy, the Romanian state holding 82.49% of the shares, and the other shareholders 17.50%, after the company was listed on the stock exchange in 2013.
CNE Branch (CNE) Cernavodă operates two CANDU nuclear units, which are two of the most performing units among the more than 400 nuclear power plants in the world, a nuclear fuel plant and is in the process of realizing an integrated fuel cycle through the acquisition a uranium concentrate processing line in order to support the company’s long-term investment projects.
SNN’s strategic investment projects are estimated at over 12 billion euros: re-engineering of Unit 1, commissioning of Units 3 and 4, and development of the small modular reactor project, in cooperation with the American company NuScale Power.
Laurentis Energy Partners, a subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation, provides state-of-the-art and reliable nuclear power solutions for customers around the world.
It should be mentioned that, until 2016, Romania owned the largest factory for the production of oily water in Europe. For still dubious reasons, the heavy water platform located in the town of Halânga (photo), Mehedinti County was declared bankrupt. Let’s hope that the Romanian state will not pay millions of dollars for a new capacity of heavy water in the conditions that the Halânga Plant still exists.