The US-Romanian cooperation strengthens with an extended inter-governmental agreement, allowing for cooperation in strategic sectors
Romania has huge economic potential, and it is a very good place for investors, not only from the US, but from around the world, the US Ambassador to Romania Adrian Zuckerman said early this month, voicing hopes that the economic partnership between the 2 countries would catch up with and even outperform the military one.
One of the key areas where Washington and Bucharest work together is the field of energy. In order to meet its energy security and decarbonisation goals, Romania intends to upgrade one of the reactors of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant and build another 2.
The project is estimated to cost 8 billion US dollars, and the US Export-Import Bank will provide up to 7 billion USD for its funding. Once completed, the project will enable the Nuclear Power Plant in Cernavodă, south-eastern Romania, to cover around 40% of the country’s electricity needs. This is double the rate covered at present, says Cosmin Ghiţă, general manager of Nuclearelectrica:
Cosmin Ghiţă: “With Units 3 and 4, this means doubling the current nuclear power capacity, and this is only one of the benefits. In Romania, the nuclear industry provides around 11,000 jobs. Once these projects are started, the number of jobs could reach over 20,000. As for the benefits of revamping Unit 1, these are evident: operating this facility for another 30 years, at less than half the cost of a new reactor.”
The agreement between Romania and the US on cooperation in the Cernavoda nuclear power projects was signed in Bucharest on Wednesday by the Romanian economy minister Virgil Popescu and the US ambassador, in the presence of the interim PM Nicolae Ciucă.
The terms of the documents had been agreed on in early October, during the economy minister’s visit to the US, when the memorandum of agreement with Exim Bank was also signed.
This week, the USA Exim Bank president Kimberly Reed went to Cernavodă, and in a subsequent meeting with minister Virgil Popescu, he emphasised that the institution is ready to provide funding to Bucharest for other projects as well. The US might also fund the development of natural gas in the Black Sea.
Romgaz is currently negotiating the acquisition of the US company Exxon’s stake in the Neptun Deep offshore project, and once investments in the Black Sea are restarted, Romania may become Europe’s largest natural gas and energy producer.
Ambassador Adrian Zuckerman, attending the meeting, emphasised the importance of Romania securing its energy independence and added that the visit made by the Exim Bank president highlights the US commitment to Romania. (tr. A.M. Popescu)