The Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), in commercial operation since 1996, produces more than 10% of the electricity produced in Romania. Recently, the Romanian Government declared its commitment for completion of a second reactor of the CANDU design, under construction on the Cernavoda site.

The annual spent fuel arising from a CANDU reactor is about 100tU. The current policy for spent fuel management as practiced by the plant owner is to store it in the reactor bay for minimum six years and in a dry storage facility for a minimum of 50 years. For geological disposal of spent fuel, the “wait and see” strategy is considered the best approach, as Romania has a relative low scale nuclear program and wants to benefit by the international progress in this field.

The construction of a new spent fuel dry storage facility located in the vicinity of the nuclear power reactor site represents a main priority for the next three years. The site of this facility will accommodate two nuclear units’ inventories of spent fuel for the entire planned lifetime. An international public-limited tender was organized to select the supplier of the dry storage technology in early 2001. The tenderer was asked to propose a proven and licensed technology capable of storing CANDU spent fuel according to specified design parameters and safety and environmental requirements.

Design, construction, operation or licensing legal specific requirements for such a facility is generally not established and other already existing national requirements are applicable to a limited degree. Taking into account the different approaches and iterative processes required for Romanian authorities to regulate the nuclear activities for different fields, this paper considers the realistic path forward.

The current status and main aspects of the development and licensing of the new nuclear facility in Romania is presented in this paper.

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