News briefs curated by POWER’s editors for September and October 2023.
Canada Commits CA$3B to Complete Romania’s CANDU Nuclear Construction
Canada will loan CA$3 billion in available export financing to Nuclearelectrica S.A. (SNN), Romania’s state-owned operator of the Cernavoda Nuclear Generating Station, to complete the construction of Cernavoda 3 and 4, two CANDU-6 reactors, which originally began construction in the mid-1980s. Canada provided export financing support to construct and operate two CANDU-6 reactors at Cernavoda 1 and 2.
The reactors designed by Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. (AECL), were completed in 1996 and 2007, respectively, and have remained operational ever since. If completed, the new CANDU 6 reactors could supply up to 36% of Romania’s total power needs, helping to phase out coal by 2032. The new Cernavoda reactors “will leverage Canadian CANDU technology to deliver clean and reliable power to communities while contributing to Canada’s efforts to support European energy security. Canadian nuclear expertise will continue to play an important role in helping the world accelerate to a clean and secure energy future,” said Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson on Sept. 19. Romania’s Minister of Energy Sebastian Burduja acknowledged that the countries have shared bilateral relations since the 1970s.
“Romania took the historical decision to be the only country behind the Iron Curtain to develop a nuclear program based on Western technology and the only European country to choose CANDU technology (Canadian deuterium uranium) for its nuclear program. As the current geopolitical context has shown, this was the best decision that Romania could have taken at that time,” he said. Burduja affirmed “unwavering commitment to a long-term and prosperous cooperation between our countries in the nuclear field.” He also pledged full support for the development of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant with two new units using CANDU technology. Romania is committed to “treat this strategic national security project with the highest priority,” he said.
HDF Studying Hydrogen Power Plant in Kenya
Hydrogène de France (HDF), a hydrogen infrastructure designer and developer, has initiated development studies that will explore the installation of Kenya’s first hydrogen power plant. The prospect, announced at the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi on Sept. 4, could result in the development of a Renewstable power plant, which combines a 180-MW solar PV park with 500 MWh of long-term hydrogen storage.
The hydrogen is converted through water electrolysis. The power plant could be a “game-changer for the electricity sector, offering locally clean baseload power with essential grid stabilizing services, in areas where geothermal or hydropower is not available,” HDF claimed. Alongside the Kenyan venture, HDF said it is actively advancing on other hydrogen projects across Africa, in Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular, constituting a business development portfolio worth over €3 billion.
Progress for Bangladesh’s VVER-1200 Nuclear Project
Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation, on Oct. 5 said the first batch of nuclear fuel has been delivered to Bangladesh’s Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. Rooppur, which will feature two VVER-1200 reactors with a total capacity of 2.4 GWe, is under construction 160 kilometers from Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka.
Rosatom’s contract to build the two reactors was signed in 2015. The first unit is currently scheduled to be commissioned in 2024. Construction of the second unit began in 2018. In late September, Rosatom said it completed installation of the steel structures of the outer containment dome of Unit 2. The work was completed in two days—“the shortest time period for performance of such operation.” VVER-1200 reactor designs, notably, feature double containment. Along with Rooppur, Rosatom’s VVER-1200 reactors are also under construction in Turkey at Akkuyu, in China at Tianwan and Xudabao, and in Egypt at El Dabaa.
BOEM Issues Final EIS for Dominion’s 2.6-GW CVOW Offshore Wind Project
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Sept. 25 completed its environmental review of the proposed Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, Dominion Energy’s 2.6-GW offshore wind project proposed 23.5 nautical miles offshore Virginia Beach. According to the final environmental impact statement (EIS), the project’s offshore construction is expected to begin this year, and its 176 to 202 Siemens Gamesa SG 14-222 DD wind turbines are expected to be installed starting in 2025.
Dominion plans to put the project in service by 2028, as mandated by the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act. The EIS suggests the project will include 300 miles of inter-array cables and up to 330 miles of offshore export cables buried beneath the seabed. It will also involve three offshore substations installed atop piled jacket foundations. BOEM plans to issue a Record of Decision on whether to approve the project this fall.
Testing, Installation of World’s Longest HVDC Interconnector Completed
Italy’s Prysmian Group has completed the installation and high-voltage testing activities for its 1,400-kilometer (km) submarine and land power cables for the Viking Link Interconnector—the world’s longest onshore and offshore HVDC interconnector connecting the UK and Denmark. Viking Link, a joint venture between National Grid and Energinet, is due to be operational at the end of 2023. Prysmian’s work fulfills a €700 million contract awarded in August 2019 for the turn-key design, manufacture, and installation of the interconnector.
The contract covered all the 1,250 km of cables for the submarine route and approximately 135 km of land cables on the UK side, it said. “The High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) interconnector will operate at±525 kV DC and will allow up to 1,400 MW of power to be transferred between the two countries passing through UK, Dutch, German, and Danish waters, using single-core, mass-impregnated paper-insulated cables,” the company noted. All cables were manufactured at the Prysmian Group’s Italy Arco Felice facility. “Cable installation involved the Leonardo da Vinci—the most advanced cable layer in the market—in its first-ever offshore campaign as well as the vessel Cable Enterprise,” it noted.