Romania Intends to Revitalise Old Nuclear Plants because Ceausescu’s aim to wean Romania off of reliance on Russia by making the nation energy-independent has left the country in a great position in the current energy crisis
SMRs have gained a lot of attention for their myriad advantages, most notably their modularity. The field of SMRs is just emerging and models are still under development, leaving the field wide open for competition. And a new, unexpected candidate may be stepping up to take the lead in the SMR vanguard: Romania.
For decades, Romania has derived about 20% of its energy mix from the nuclear plants that are part of the lasting legacy of the country’s infamous dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. His aim to wean Romania off of reliance on Russia by making the nation energy-independent has left the country in a great position in the current energy crisis. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which shares a 400-mile border with Romania, has rekindled the desire to shore up Romanian energy autonomy. To do so, Romania is planning on revitalizing decades-old nuclear plants that never came online, and “leading the way into” SMRs.
This, too, may play directly into elevating the importance and acceptance of nuclear power across Europe, especially Germany. While Germany has remained firm in its convictions that nuclear energy must be phased out entirely, due to concerns over public safety and radioactive waste, it may not be able to maintain this stance as the Kremlin continues to choke off the nation’s access to natural gas – until this conflict, Russia provided about half of Germany’s natural gas. So far, Germany has responded to the squeeze by firing up old coal plants, to the horror of climate advocates. Now top German economists have suggested that Germany delay the closure of the country’s three remaining nuclear plants, which are slated to close at the end of this year.
For all of the concerns associated with nuclear energy – not to mention relying on tax-happy Romania for energy trading – the proliferation of nuclear energy in the European Union, as well as the earnest initiation of the SMR sector, could have sweeping positive implications for the global fight against climate change.