Romania-Republic of Korea: cooperation for the completion of the first detrition facility (CTRF) in Europe at CNE Cernavoda

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Seoul, June 28, 2023 – Nuclearelectrica SA Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) signed on June 27, 2023, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the completion of the first detrition facility (CTRF) in Europe , at CNE Cernavoda, according to a press release.

CTRF will remove tritium from the plant, which will lead to increased environmental protection, fully in line with Nuclearelectrica’s and Europe’s ESG objectives.

Using an innovative Romanian technology, developed by the National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenic and Isotopic Technologies – ICSI Rm. Vâlcea, the Cernavoda detritus facility (CTRF) will be the third detritus facility in the world and the first in Europe and will offer Romania the possibility of becoming a European center for the production and export of tritium – the candidate fuel of future fusion reactors. Romania also has the opportunity to develop its supply chain and become a center for the development and export of Romanian waste technology and know-how, using local factories and workforce. .

Tritium, an isotope of hydrogen, is produced mainly in heavy water reactors (such as CANDU). CTRF will remove the tritium from the heavy water of the CANDU reactors and from the facilities of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant. The resulting tritium can later be used for future fusion reactors, such as ITER, and will be the first European source of fuel, using a Romanian technology, in partnership with Korea. Fusion plants will use isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium to fuel the fusion reaction and convert the released energy into electricity.

The CTRF project, carried out by ICSI Rm. Vâlcea, uses the most advanced technology, CTRF including the updated nuclear safety requirements for an industrial tritium facility, as established by CNCAN, the National Commission for the Control of Nuclear Activities in Romania.

“We are happy to implement innovative Romanian technology, based on years of research and development, an example of Romania’s leadership in the nuclear industry. KHNP, a top expert in the field, is the right partner to support us in the realization of a safe and reliable project. The detrition facility represents Nuclearelectrica’s constant commitment to safe operation and to the protection of the environment and the population. Our goal, through investment projects, technological progress and international cooperation, is to give Romania a leading role in the nuclear industry and to support its energy security. I congratulate the National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenic and Isotopic Technologies – ICSI Rm. Valcea, the Nuclearelectrica team and our partners for their efforts and the shared vision for a sustainable future for the next generation.” – Cosmin Ghiță, general manager, Nuclearelectrica

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) has been selected as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor following a public procurement procedure. KHNP has extensive experience in developing similar projects and operates a similar facility at the Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant site, the Wolsong Tritium Removal Facility.

The detritus facility project will benefit from world-class international cooperation in the field from Romania, leveraging the research expertise of the National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenic and Isotopic Technologies – ICSI Rm. Vâlcea, as well as partners from Korea, the USA, Canada and other European countries.

The detrition (tritium removal) facility at Cernavoda will include several high-tech areas: liquid phase isotopic separation, cryogenic distillation and high vacuum operation.

The project completion time is estimated at 50 months and the tritium produced will be stored in safe and secure specialized containers, ready for further use.

“We are actively working to strengthen our international partnerships, capitalizing on our 26 years of expertise in safe operation and over 50 years of experience in the Romanian nuclear industry. We aim to deliver not only 66% of Romania’s clean energy by 2031, but also innovative and efficient projects that support the development of the local nuclear industry with multiple socio-economic benefits. This is an excellent moment to capitalize on Romanian expertise for a secure energy future and to share our knowledge with companies and countries that share the same vision”, says Cosmin Ghiță, general director, Nuclearelectrica.

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