US and UAE among countries pledging $275m for Romanian nuclear project

Small modular reactor also has early stage support from public and private companies in Japan and South Korea

Cooling towers are seen near the Golfech nuclear plant on the border of the Garonne River between Agen and Toulouse, France. Reuters
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The US and its partners, including the UAE, have pledged to provide $275 million for a small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear project in Romania as part of efforts to support the transition to clean energy.

The US Export-Import Bank (Exim) has issued a letter of interest for potential support for up to $99 million to RoPower Nuclear, the project company for deploying the SMR in Romania, the White House said on Saturday.

In total, the project has received $275 million in early stage support, including from public and private companies in Japan, South Korea and the UAE, the White House said.

These commitments, along with new pledges by Romania, support the procurement of materials, engineering and design analysis, provision of project management experts and regulatory site activities.

In 2021, the EU country partnered with US company NuScale Power to build small nuclear reactors to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

NuScale is majority owned by construction and engineering company Fluor Corp.

The US International Development Finance Corporation and Exim have also issued letters of interest for potential support of up to $1 billion and $3 billion, respectively, for project deployment, the White House said.

“When built, the SMR will pave the way for new innovative energy technologies, accelerate the clean energy transition, create thousands of jobs and strengthen European energy security while upholding the highest standards for nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation,” the White House said.

Romania has a diverse energy mix comprising gas, nuclear power and renewable sources.

Last month, the EU’s energy ministers held meetings to plan a common path on whether nuclear power should be incorporated into the bloc's renewable goals.

France has historically invested massively in nuclear power programmes. More than 70 per cent of its electricity is derived from nuclear energy.

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are among EU countries in favour of nuclear power.

Business Extra in Davos: Energy in crisis and transition

Business Extra in Davos: Energy in crisis and transition
Business Extra in Davos: Energy in crisis and transition

Last year, the European Parliament supported EU regulations that classify investments in gas and nuclear power plants as environmentally sustainable.

Countries such as Japan and Germany shut down several reactors after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Updated: May 21, 2023, 11:01 AM

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