Romania Seeks Deal With Chinese Company for New Reactors

Romania is seeking a deal with China General Nuclear Power Holding Corp. to build two new atomic reactors by the first quarter of 2015 at the latest, Economy Minister Constantin Nita said.

Romania is determined to go ahead with its plan to raise capacity at its Cernavoda plant on the Black Sea coast to help balance output amid a rise in renewable energy production, Nita said in an interview in Bucharest today.

“We will build the reactors with the help of Chinese investors,” Nita said in an interview. “It’s going to be a transparent procedure so that other investors would be able to participate too, but we have waited for 10 years for them to come and they haven’t. So now, I’m convinced that we’ll complete the talks this year or in the first quarter of next year at the latest.”

Romania, the European Union’s second-poorest member, has been trying to lure foreign investors to help upgrade its outdated energy system as it seeks to diversify and lower costs for people and companies. The government turned to Chinese investors after companies such as ArcelorMittal and Enel SpA withdrew from a joint project set up to build the reactors to focus on other plans.

Once an accord is reached, China General Nuclear will hold the majority stake in the project, which the ministry estimates is worth about 6.5 billion euros ($8.8 billion), and will secure the funding. Nuclearelectrica SA, Romania’s state-owned nuclear power generator, will keep a minority stake which has yet to be determined, according to Nita.

The government is also working on another plan to help companies lower their energy costs and is developing a support program on natural gas prices that may include a tax deduction from next year, pending approval from the competition watchdog and the European Commission, Nita said.