Canada, Romania sign $3 billion nuclear deal
- Nuclear power has been a Canadian success story, with the development of the CANDU reactor decades ago
- Canada is also in nuclear power talks with other countries, including Poland
Canada and Romania signed a $3 billion export development deal on Tuesday that will build two new nuclear reactors in the Eastern European country, a move the energy ministers of both governments said would make it harder for Russia to use its energy exports as weapons .
"This is first and foremost about energy security. In fact, not only for Romania, but for the entire region," Romanian Energy Minister Sebastian Burdugia told a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday.
Romania has reached an agreement with neighboring Moldova to share some power from two new CANDU reactors, which are expected to come online in 2032, Burdugga said. The country is also negotiating with Ukraine, Hungary and Austria. The two new reactors will join two existing CANDU reactors that have been providing electricity from the nuclear power center in the southeastern Romanian town of Cernavoda since 1996 and 2007 respectively.
The plants supply about a fifth of Romania's electricity and the two new plants are similar in size, Burdugia said. Romania is not dependent on Russia for energy.
Canadian Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said that Romania’s national nuclear operator will be provided with up to $3 billion in financing to purchase supplies or services from Canadian companies. The funds come partly from Export Development Canada and partly from the Canada Account, which supports export financing deemed to be in Canada's national interest.
Much of the focus following this deal has been on natural gas, for which many European countries rely heavily on Russia.
While Wilkinson last year asked Canadian suppliers to increase natural gas exports, he has long pointed out that Canada's ability to ship natural gas to Europe is limited - Canada has no east coast gas export facilities, so supplies must mainly pass through the United States.
Canada and Germany also have an agreement to transport Canadian hydrogen, but the industry is still in its infancy in Canada. However, nuclear power has been a Canadian success story, with the CANDU reactor developed decades ago. Canada is also engaged in nuclear power talks with other countries, including Poland. Ambassadors from Ukraine, Poland and Finland attended Tuesday's signing ceremony for the Canada-Romania nuclear deal.
Burdugia said that in the 1970s, when many European countries turned to Russian nuclear technology, Romania unexpectedly chose the Canadian version. Today, he said, the decision proved fortuitous. We are grateful that Romania took this decision in the 1970s, otherwise we might now have Russian nuclear power plants, which would be very complicated in the current situation. Editor/Xu Shengpeng
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