CEZ Quits Romania's Cernavoda NPP Expansion Project

Energy | January 5, 2011, Wednesday // 19:47|  views

The Cernavoda NPP in Romania is seen in Bulgaria as a competitor to the Belene NPP project. Photo by Wikipedia

Czech energy company CEZ has sold its shares from the holding for the construction of a third and fourth reactor at the Romanian nuclear power plant Cernavoda.

Czech group CEZ said in a statement that it sold its 9.15% at the holding for the expansion of Cernavoda before the end of 2010.

The initial announcement of an intention to sell the 9.15% share held by CEZ in the Energonuclear SA company was first made in late 2010.

CEZ sold its shares to the Romanian state company Nuclearelectrica SA, the majority shareholder in the project to build reactors 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda plant. Romanian news site HotNews.ro, cited CEZ as saying it sold the shares for RON 7.4 M.

According to CEZ, the sale comes in line with the company plans to focus on its main investments in the Czech Republic and on consolidating existing acquisitions abroad. In Bulgaria, CEZ owns one of the country's three power utilities; CEZ Bulgaria is the electricity distribution company in the Western and North-central part of the country.

The two 706-MW reactors at the Cernavoda NPP currently produce about 18% of Romania's total electricity consumption. The second operational reactor at Romania's NPP Cernavoda was launched in 2007; the two existing reactors are Canadian-made.

The construction of Cernavoda Units 3 and 4 would double Romania's production of electricity from nuclear energy. The Energonuclear holding company was established for the expansion project with two 720-MW units, which is estimated to cost EUR 4 B.

Energonuclear shareholders are: Nuclearelectrica SA – now with 60.15%, holding 51% before the CEZ pullout; Germany's RWE, France's GDF Suez, Italy's Enel with 9.15% each, and ArcelorMittal and Iberdrola with 6.2% each.

The Romanian state plans to sell part of its stake so it will become a minority shareholder. Should partners be willing to buy shares, the Romanian state is willing to become a minority shareholder and should they not be interested in buying we would have to find procedures to find strategic investors elsewhere to cut our stake, Tudor Serban, an official from the Romanian Economy Ministry, told HotNews.ro.

In Bulgaria, the Romanian Cernavoda NPP has often been seen as a competitor to the project for the second Bulgarian nuclear power plant at the town of Belene on the Danube. The Belene NPP has been planned to have at least two Russian 1000 MW reactors at first.

The project for its construction stalled over the past year as the new center-right government of PM Borisov revised the estimates for its cost from EUR 4 B to up to EUR 10 B because of the economic crisis.

The Borisov Cabinet has made it clear that it is going to construct the Belene NPP only if it finds a "strategic European investor". The originally selected strategic foreign investor, the German company RWE, which also has a stake at Romania's Cernavoda NPP, backed out of the Belene project in the fall of 2009. It was supposed to invest some EUR 2 B in exchange for a 49% stake in the future plant.

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Tags: CEZ, Cernavoda NPP, Romania, Belene NPP, Nuclear Power Plant, EnergoNuclear, RWE, ArcelorMittal, Enel, Iberdrola, GDF Suez, Cernavoda, Danube River


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