Recent advances in technology and the energy crisis have sparked new interest in nuclear power across Europe.
Romania will be the first country outside of the US to have small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) technology.
A fraction of the size of regular reactors and designed so that systems can be pre-assembled in a factory, SMRs can produce a large amount of low-carbon energy. Their small size also means that they can be installed where there isn’t enough land for regular reactors.
It is still an emerging technology and has mostly been used in pilot projects. Recent advances and the impact of the energy crisis, however, have sparked interest and political support for nuclear power across Europe.
Earlier this year, the Romanian government described SMRs as “the newest, safest and cleanest nuclear technology”.
A partnership between Romania and the US has brought this advanced nuclear tech to the country as part of a scheme called ‘Project Phoenix’. The reactors will replace old, coal-fired power stations.
At Doicești, a region just north of Bucharest, a plant with six of these modules has received funding of up to €254m. It could create over 2,000 jobs and avoid the production of 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
Training Europe’s future nuclear energy experts
Romania will also train future nuclear energy specialists from all over Europe at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest.
US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry recently visited the university. He witnessed a demonstration of what would happen during an earthquake at their NuScale SMR control room simulator.
The former Secretary of State also announced for the first time that more mini-nuclear power plants will be built in the region.
“Today, I am pleased to announce that the top three qualifiers for Project Phoenix are the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia,” he said.
“All three countries will receive financial and technical support for SMR feasibility studies.”
Rector of the university, Mihnea Costoiu said that Kerry’s endorsement of the partnership had “put the Polytechnic at the centre of the project.” He added that all future specialists will be trained at the simulator in Bucharest.
Watch the video above to learn more about this advanced nuclear tech.
Video editor • Hannah Brown