CERNAVODĂ, THIS WEEKThe call for bids for Units 3 and 4

A.T. (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 25 august 2014

The call for bids for Units 3 and 4

The call for bids for attracting investors at the Units 3 and 4 of the nuclear electric plant of Cernavodă may be launched this week, according to sources close to the situation. The amount of the investment is estimated at approximately 5 billion Euros, according to the latest data published by the company.

During Friday's General Meeting, the shareholders of Nuclearelectrica have approved the strategy to continue the project of Units 3 and of Cernavodă by organizing a competitive procedure for selecting a private investor, according to our sources, which have also mentioned that the Proprietatea Fund voted for the continuation of the very costly investment, even though it had previously opposed it.

The shareholders have approved the participation of Nuclearelectrica SA in the project company for the two units in which the nuclear energy maker will be allowed to contribute a maximum of 2 million Euros, in the form of movable and immovable assets (ed. note: the initial capital for the project company).

Nuclearelectrica now has the approval of its shareholders to initiate, conduct and complete the competitive procedure for the selection of a private investor for building a mixed capital IEP (independent energy producer) company, in order to implement the project. Nuclearelectrica will bear the expenses of the project.

BURSA recently reported that the authorities have decided to settle for less strict requirements for investors interested in financing the construction of Units 3 and 4, according to some market sources. "Thus, those who are interested may also contribute equipment, not just funds, compared to the first call for bids for the two units, which ended a few years ago", according to our sources, who think that this decision would fit wonderfully the Chinese company that is interested in the investment.

It was recently reported in the Canadian press that Canadian group Lavalin signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese General Nuclear Power Group to build the two reactors of Cernavodă, and the agreement can lead to a more comprehensive global partnership for the development of nuclear projects with the Chinese.

Canadian-based Lavalin, which supplied the CANDU technology and has built Units 1 and 2 of Cernavodă, seem convinced that Romania will secure Chinese funding for the expensive project.

The strategy for the continuation of the project stipulates that the Romanian authorities are reviewing various options for granting state aids to the investor that will be selected for the project: "In the current context of the economy and the electricity market, which does not provide sufficient conditions for achieving the investments in major infrastructure projects which the energy sector needs, which would have a major impact on the economic reinvigoration of Romania, together with the specificity of energy technologies that have low carbon emissions, which are often capital intensive and take a long time to complete, the need arises for support mechanisms, that would facilitate the making of major investments, based on the principles of the free market for energy and in compliance with the European regulations concerning transparency, competition and state aids. Securing the aids will be achievable through fiscal mechanisms, as well as through commercial instruments adapted to the energy sector, which would first and foremost allow for the predictability of recouping the investment for investors specializing in capacities for the production of energy through technologies with low carbon emissions".

The government, which is the majority shareholder in Nuclearelectrica SA, considers that increasing the energy capacity of the nuclear plant of Cernavodă by two more reactors is the optimal solution to cover the capacity deficit after 2020, from a technical point of view, and in terms of the deadline for completion of the projects, as well as in terms of the use of internal resources and the existing national infrastructure, developed on CANDU technology.

The management of Nuclearelectrica has informed the shareholders yesterday that the partnership between "Schoenherr şi Asociaţii SCA" - "Herbert Smith Freehills LL" was designated the winner of the call for bids for the legal services which the company will need in the process for selecting investors for Units 3 and 4. According to data published by the company, the fee applies to the number of hours delivered up to the estimated amount of the contract (1,800,000 lei without VAT), the equivalent of approximately 400,000 Euros.

The interministry commission which will oversee and be responsible for the application of the strategy for the building of reactors 3 and 4 and which will approve the outcome of the negotiations with the selected investor will be led by the Minister of Regional Development - Liviu Dragnea, according to data published in Friday's Official Gazette. The Commission will have among its members the minister of the Economy Constantin Niţă, delegate minister of energy Răzvan Nicolescu, a secretary of state from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one from the Ministry of Finance, the managing director of the Privatization Department (Gabriel Dumitraşcu) and that of the Department for Energy and Environment from the Department for Energy, the head of the OPCOM (Victor Ionescu), the managing director of Nuclearelectrica (Daniela Lulache) and the CEO of Transelectrica (Toni Teau).

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