Candu Energy Inc., a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has been chosen by Nuclearelectrica S.A. (SNN), operator of the Cernavoda Nuclear Generating Station in Romania, to conduct optimization work on the Unit 1 CANDU® reactor at the facility. SNC-Lavalin will perform axial channel shifting for several fuel channels in Unit 1 during a three-year period. This work is essential to allowing the CANDU reactor, which supplies 10% of Romania’s electricity, to continue providing a reliable, uninterrupted flow of power ahead of its proposed longer-term life extension. Performing this work now will bring both time and cost efficiency to the refurbishment process.
“SNC-Lavalin’s nuclear business has a strong global presence across five continents, and our full life-cycle expertise is continuously sought by our global clients,” commented Ian L. Edwards, President and Chief Executive Officer, SNC-Lavalin. “This new mandate with SNN will ensure that Romania continues to benefit from nuclear energy that is clean, efficient, and affordable- at a time when the need for both energy security and decarbonized sources of electricity have never been more important for Europe and the world.”
“SN Nuclearelectrica SA has had a long, fruitful cooperation with SNC-Lavalin and we are looking forward to optimizing Cernavoda NPP Unit 1 in order to provide clean, reliable energy at the highest level of nuclear safety, as we have done thus far. Based on SNC-Lavalin’s expertise and professional personnel, we are fully confident that the contract will deliver the outcome we are looking for in terms of strategy, engineering and workings. Cernavoda NPP Unit 1 is a strategic electricity generator for Romania and we are keen on maintaining our high nuclear safety standards and results,” said Cosmin Ghita, Chief Executive Officer SN Nuclearelectrica SA.
Axial channel shifting is a maintenance activity that adjusts elongation of the reactor’s fuel channel tubes. SNC-Lavalin has previously conducted related reconfiguration work for numerous nuclear utilities. This maintenance activity performed in advance of the refurbishment allows for a more cost-efficient and time-efficient refurbishment process. The effective shutdown of Cernavoda NPP Unit 1 for refurbishment purposes is scheduled, based on Nuclearelectrica development strategy, throughout 2027-2029.
The mandate will see SNC-Lavalin personnel deploy onsite to Cernavoda to carry out the work, which will be conducted over two outages. SNC-Lavalin will be responsible for the design, manufacturing, testing, and transportation of the full suite of axial shifting tools and accessories that are required. The Company’s teams will also conduct reactor engineering analysis, develop a strategy to execute the shifting work, and undertake an examination regarding any impact on the reactor design. The mandate builds upon SNC-Lavalin’s work for SNN during the last 10 years, which included providing feeder inspection & replacement services, as well as fuel channel inspection services and safety upgrades for the Cernavoda CANDU reactors.
“As the steward and original equipment manufacturer of CANDU technology, we’ve had a long-standing and successful relationship with SNN in Romania since its CANDU units came online in 1996 and 2007, and we’re best positioned to carry out this vital work for their reactor core,” said Joe St. Julian, President, Nuclear, SNC-Lavalin. “Cernavoda’s two CANDU reactors provide 20% of Romania’s electricity, and have allowed Romania to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by over 10 million tonnes a year. Romania’s success is another example of why we remain advocates for the role of nuclear in the net zero energy mix.”
A modern and world-class facility, the Cernavoda Nuclear Generating Station contains 2 CANDU reactors. Since it went into operation in 1996, the Unit 1 reactor alone has prevented the release of 4 million tonnes per year of carbon dioxide that would have been produced had a fossil fuel plant been built instead. The CANDU technology at the plant has also enhanced Romania’s energy self-sufficiency. Both the nuclear fuel and heavy water required are produced by Romania.
Equipping Romania’s CANDU reactors to continue serving future generations with dependable, decarbonized power is another example of SNC-Lavalin’s commitment to advance projects that help clients meet their net zero goals, as outlined in the Company’s Engineering Net Zero blueprint.