Dr. Teodor Chirica, a nuclear engineer with more than 40 years of experience in the nuclear-energy field, has played a major role in developing Romania’s nuclear-power industry. He was instrumental in launching CANDU projects in Romania and in setting up ROMATOM and its affiliation with FORATOM in 2000. Serving in various managerial positions at Nuclearelectrica from 1998 to 2009, including as CEO, after that he was Managing Director of AMEC Nuclear Romania before being appointed CEO of EnergoNuclear in 2013. He discusses recent developments in Romania’s energy sector and emphasises the importance of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix.
How important is nuclear power for Romania?
Dr. Teodor Chirica: For the Romanian energy mix nuclear power is part of the solution and no part of the problem. It is low carbon, sustainable energy, with no emissions, and it offers security of supply and affordability to the customers. I would like to see nuclear energy become one of our main energy options here in Romania along with renewable and hydropower. I am confident that nuclear power is here to stay, and major nuclear projects should continue even when governments change since the implementation of a nuclear-power plant takes around seven – eight years. People are focusing attention on Black Sea shale gas and on making Romania a hub for its transport, but Romania could also process an important share of this gas through reviving our industrial activities based on our tradition in chemical and fertilizers plants. This would require reliable energy supplies and nuclear power could provide those supplies. In any case I believe that fossil fuels, especially gas should only be used for industrial purposes, not by households.
How attractive is Romania’s nuclear-power sector for international investors?
Dr. Teodor Chirica: The Romanian nuclear industry is strong and stable. Our safety culture has been praised by the World Association of Nuclear Operators and by the International Agency for Nuclear Energy. Romania’s nuclear industry benefits from strong management and an excellent international reputation. Among former communist countries, only two – Slovenia and Romania — have nuclear-energy industries of Western design and operated according to international standards. Romania’s Cernavoda plant has implemented more than 80% of the required post-Fukushima nuclear safety improvements. Some countries have not even begun to make these upgrades.
What is your personal message about Romania and nuclear sector?
Dr. Teodor Chirica: Romania is a beautiful country with great business potential. We welcome strong partnerships. Romania needs to revive its industrial activities and this means we need to develop reliable energy resources. At the end of the day, nuclear energy is clean, reliable, low-carbon-emission energy which should continue and develop.