Thursday, October 20, 2011

Romania, China Guangdong discuss new nuclear units

Wed Oct 19, 2011

BUCHAREST Oct 19 (Reuters) - China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group may invest in a project to add two more reactors at Romania's sole nuclear power plant in Cernavoda on the Danube river, Romania's economy ministry said on Wednesday.

Romanian state-owned nuclear power plant operator Nuclearelectrica and the Chinese firm signed a confidentiality agreement in Beijing on Wednesday that allows China Guangdong to seek details about the future reactors.

The European Union state, which already has two 706 megawatt reactors at the Cernavoda plant accounting for a fifth of its power output, plans to build two more units by 2019 and is seeking private partners to help finance the project.

"The confidentiality agreement signed today will allow the Chinese company access to relevant information about ways to invest in the third and fourth nuclear reactors project," the ministry said in a statement.

"The agreement is part of the procedure to select new investors in the project to build the reactors."

The economy ministry has increasingly looked to Asian companies this year after European power groups GDF Suez , Iberdrola , RWE and CEZ (CEZPsp.PR: Quote) withdrew from the partnership.

In May the economy ministry, which aims to sell some 40 percent of its shares in the project, said Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) was interested in the reactors, which are estimated to cost 4 billion euros.

Last month a South Korean consortium led by BKB Co. visited Romania to discuss the reactors with officials.

Nuclearelectrica still has two of the six initial foreign partners, Italy's Enel and a local unit of ArcelorMittal , which together hold a little over 15 percent in the project. (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; editing by James Jukwey)

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