Romania: European Court of Justice ruling paves the way for the construction of nuclear plants

Romania: European Court of Justice ruling paves the way for the construction of nuclear plants

The European Court of Justice ruled yesterday (September 23rd) in favour of whether the financing mechanisms for the construction of a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C in Great Britain are in line with European law and the EURATOM agreement. It was preceded by an appeal by Austria against the implementation of the plan.

This decision means that for the construction of new nuclear power plants, the state can contribute with support mechanisms. The decision may also have implications for Romania, in particular as regards the construction of reactors 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant.

The Romanian Atomic Forum (ROMATOM) welcomed the decision, considering it a message of support for the development of new nuclear power plants.

In 2014, the British government approved funding mechanisms for the country’s new nuclear projects, including a kind of subsidy while prices are low, as well as government guarantees. Austria appealed against the project and its funding mechanisms, but the appeal was rejected by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), initially in 2018 and again in 2020.

According to ROMATOM, the decision of the ED confirms the compatibility with the rules of the internal market, according to no. 107 par. 3 c of the TFEU, the right of each Member State to Finally, in the absence of specific rules in the Euratom Pact, the TFEU State Aid Rules apply to the nuclear energy sector. The financing regulations for nuclear power plants provided for in the TFEU also take into account the impact on the environment.

ROMATOM President Lucian Rusu said, among other things, that given the objectives set out in the new European Green Deal, many Member States face major challenges in securing a future low-carbon energy grid and as such, nuclear energy can be an important component of today and in the future.

In Romania, nuclear energy accounts for 18% of domestic production and 33% of total clean energy, and employs 11,000 people in production, research, engineering, equipment production, innovation and education, and this number is estimated to reach 19,000 if new nuclear projects are launched.

The Honorary President of ROMATOM, Teodor Chirica, stressed that for Romania the development of new nuclear capacities is included in all scenarios of the country’s Energy Strategy until 2030, with prospects for 2050, as well as in the Integrated National Plan of the Energy and Climate Changes Sector (PNIESC) 2021-2030. That is why, he said, “we appreciate the importance of nuclear choice for our country, in line with the position of pro-nuclear European states”.

Romania is currently looking for partners to build reactors 3 and 4 at Cernavoda. The shareholders of Nuclearelectrica rejected the proposal of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (after five years of negotiations) and took – at the request of the government – the decision to suspend negotiations with the Chinese side at the General Meeting of June 12, 2020.

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban and then Economy, Energy and Business Minister Virgil Popescu made statements in January, calling for an end to the prospect of cooperating with the Chinese, saying “it seems normal for such strategic investments to be made with NATO partners.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation was accused in 2016 by the US government of nuclear espionage./ibna