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Chamber approves bill ratifying Romania-US agreement on nuclear energy cooperation projects

Romania's Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday passed, 307 to two abstentions, a bill ratifying the Agreement on Cooperation for the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Projects and Civil Nuclear Power Sector in Romania signed in Bucharest on December 9, 2020, and in Upper Marlboro on December 4, 2020.

The bill is designed to draw new guidelines for the development of nuclear energy capabilities in Romania that require a rapid restructuring, by capitalising on the potential to redefine strategic guidelines in a different key than the one conceived over a decade ago and based firstly on investors coming from countries allied with Romania, in accordance with the provisions of the Romanian Government Memorandum 3 of January 20, 2020 called "New policies and guidelines for the development of the nuclear energy sector in Romania."

According to the explanatory memorandum, the entry into force of this agreement will allow the development of the Romanian civil nuclear programme by ensuring technical expertise, regulation, security and nuclear safety and will implicitly contribute to strengthening security, diversity, operational safety as well as and environmental stability in Romania by upgrading Unit 1 and expanding the capacity of Cernavoda nuclear-power plant.

The agreement covers several areas of cooperation - the Cernavoda Units 3 and 4 project; refurbishment of Unit 1; regulation, research and development; exchanges between research laboratories and universities; staff training.

Following the signing on September 24, 2019 of the Memorandum of Understanding between Romania and the USA on cooperation in the civil nuclear field, the US Embassy sent to the Romanian side a proposal for an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation for the Cernavoda Nuclear Power projects and civil nuclear power sector in Romania. Negotiations took place between 2019 and 2020, with the text of the agreement being completed and initialled in October 2020, in Washington.

On November 27, 2020, a memorandum was approved under which the Minister of Economy, Energy and Business Community Virgil Popescu was mandated to sign the agreement on behalf of the government of Romania, and the co-operation document was signed on December 9, 2020 in Bucharest and on December 4, 2020 in Upper Marlboro.