Canada and Romania have signed a $3-billion export development deal that involves the construction of two new nuclear reactors in Romania. The agreement aims to enhance energy security in the region and mitigate Russia’s ability to use energy exports for geopolitical leverage.
Romanian Energy Minister Sebastian Burduja stated that the primary objective of the deal is to ensure energy security for Romania and the surrounding countries. Romania has already reached an agreement with Moldova to share power from the new Candu reactors, which are expected to become operational by 2032. The country is also in talks with Ukraine, Hungary, and Austria.
The two new reactors will join the existing Candu reactors that have been supplying electricity since 1996 and 2007. These reactors currently provide approximately 20% of Romania’s electricity, and the new additions will be of a similar size.
By reducing dependence on Russian energy, Romania aims to diminish the ability of Russian President Vladimir Putin to use energy exports as a geopolitical weapon. Putin has previously demonstrated a willingness to use energy for political gains.
Under the deal, Canada will provide up to $3 billion in financing for Romania’s national nuclear operator to purchase supplies or services from Canadian companies. The funds will come from Export Development Canada and the Canada Account, which supports export financing in Canada’s national interest.
Canada’s commitment to helping its European allies replace Russian sources of energy originated in 2022 after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. While the focus has primarily been on natural gas, Canada has limited capacity to export gas to Europe. Therefore, the focus has shifted to the nuclear power sector where Canada has achieved success with Candu reactors.
The signing ceremony for the Canada-Romania nuclear deal was attended by ambassadors from Ukraine, Poland, and Finland. Romania’s decision to choose Canadian nuclear technology over Russian alternatives in the 1970s has proven advantageous in the current geopolitical context.
– The Canadian Press, September 19, 2023.