US Moves Toward Supplying Romania With a Modular, Low-Cost Nuclear Plant

The United States said on Monday that it would supply Romania with a training simulator in preparation for building a new type of nuclear power generating plant in the country. If an agreement on moving ahead with a power station is reached, Romania could become the first country in Europe, and perhaps in the world, to have such a plant, known as a small modular reactor.

The one in Romania would be built by NuScale Power, a start-up company based in Portland, Ore. The government announced that the plant would be built in Doicesti, at the site of a shuttered coal-fired power plant about 55 miles northwest of Bucharest. [...] NuScale's approach to nuclear energy involves constructing relatively small reactors in factories and then assembling groups of them at the actual site for generating power. The aim is to reduce costs as well as the time required for construction. Conventional modern nuclear plants can cost $10 billion or more.

The plan involves building a power station composed of six of the modular units. The plant would generate 462 megawatts of electricity, making it the size of a medium-size conventional power station. Such a plant might cost around $1.6 billion, according to figures published by the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest. The hope is to have it operating by the end of the decade.