Bucharest breaks with Beijing over nuclear project

Three Seas Initiative (3SI) member and NATO-ally in Eastern Europe – Romania – announced May 28 that it is terminating negotiations with the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) to build two additional reactors at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant on the Danube River.

CGN filed a non-binding bid to partner with Romania for the project in 2014, but negotiations, including over price guarantees, had slowed. As part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, China hoped to use the nuclear project as a bridgehead into Europe’s energy markets but NATO allies – especially the U.S. – viewed the proposed joint venture with alarm.

Going forward, Romania’s government said it wants its state-owned power company Nuclearelectrica to find new partners for the project. The nuclear power plant currently consists of two 706-megawatt reactors, which generates roughly a fifth of Romania’s power production.

In January, Romania’s Economy Minister Virgil Popescu had said that Nuclearelectrica could build a third reactor at Cernavoda by itself and added that a new joint venture with a NATO partner was a more viable scenario.

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