Nuclearelectrica and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) signed today, June 27, 2023, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the completion of Europe’s first Tritium Removal Facility (CTRF) at Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant (Cernavoda NPP).
CTRF will remove the tritium from installations, resulting in increased protection of the environment, in full alignment with Nuclearelectrica’s and Europe’s ESG objectives.
Using a Romanian innovative technology, developed by the Romanian National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenic and Isotopic Technologies (ICSI Rm. Valcea), Cernavoda Tritium Removal Facility (CTRF) will be the world’s third and Europe’s first Tritium Removal Facility and will give Romania the opportunity to become a European hub for tritium production and export – the fuel candidate of future clean fusion reactors. Also, Romania has the opportunity to develop its suppliers’ chain and become a center for the development and export of the Romanian tritium removal technology and know-how, using localized factories and workforce.
Tritium, an isotope of hydrogen, is mainly produced in heavy water-moderated-power reactors (such as CANDU). CTRF will remove tritium from the heavy water of the CANDU reactors and installations at Cernavoda NPP. The resulting tritium can be further used for future fusion reactors, such as ITER, and will be the first indigenous European source of fuel, using Romanian technology in partnership with Korea. Fusion power plants will use hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium to fuel the fusion reaction and will convert the energy released into electricity.
The conceptual design of CTRF, completed by Romanian ICSI Rm. Valcea, uses the most advanced TRF technology, including up-to-date safety requirements for a tritium industrial facility as specified by CNCAN, the Romanian Nuclear Regulator.
“We are happy to implement a Romanian innovative technology, based on years of research and development, a true statement of Romania’s leadership in nuclear industry. KHNP, a leading expert in the field is the right partner to support us in delivering a safe and reliable project. The Tritium Removal Facility represents Nuclearelectrica’s constant commitment to safe operation and protection of the environment and population. Our purpose, through our investment projects, technological advancement and international cooperation, is to provide Romania a leading role in the nuclear industry and support its energy security. I am fully appreciative of National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenic and Isotope Technologies – ICSI Rm Valcea, my team at Nuclearelectrica and our partners for their efforts and a shared vision for a sustainable future for the next generation,” says Cosmin Ghita, Chief Executive Officer, Nuclearelectrica.
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) has been selected as an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor following a public procurement procedure. KHNP is highly experienced in developing similar projects and is operating a similar facility at the Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant site, the Wolsong Tritium Removal Facility.
The Tritium Removal Facility project will benefit from international world-class cooperation in the field from Romania, capitalizing on the National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenic and Isotope Technologies – ICSI Rm. Vâlcea research expertise, Korean, USA, Canadian and European countries.
Nuclearelectrica’s Tritium Removal Facility will include several high-technology areas: liquid phase isotopic separation, cryogenic distillation and high vacuum operation.
The project completion duration is estimated at 50 months, and the produced tritium will be stored in secure and safe specialized containers ready for future use.
“We are actively working on strengthening our international partnerships, capitalizing on our 26 years of safe operation expertise and Romanian nuclear industry expertise for more than 50 years. We aim by 2031 to deliver not only 66% of Romania’s clean energy but also innovative and efficient projects which support the development of the local nuclear industry with multiple socio-economic benefits. This is a great time to harvest our Romanian expertise for a safe energy future and share our knowledge to like-minded companies and countries,” Cosmin Ghita adds.