A Chinese company has submitted the only bid in a tender to construct a Romanian nuclear power project, state-owned power producer Nuclearelectrica has announced.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) was the sole bidder in the first phase of the tender for units 3 and 4 of the CANDU pressurized heavy water reactor plant in Cernavoda (pictured). The project is one of the largest in Romania, with an estimated cost of €5bn, Nuclearelectrica said. Each new unit will have a capacity of 720 MW.

Nuclearelectrica, which operates units 1 and 2, is to be a minority shareholder in the project.

In 2008, European firms Enel, RWE, Cez, GDF Suez and Iberdrola signed financing agreements with Nuclearelectrica to build units 3 and 4, but all subsequently withdrew from the project. According to a statement from RWE at the time, the global financial crisis made the project’s capital requirements unfeasible in an environment of market uncertainty. Romania’s government then opened negotiations with CGN.

According to news site Romania-Insider, analysts have questioned whether building an additional two reactors at the Cernavoda site makes economic sense, as Romania’s power generation capacity is currently greater than demand. However, the site said, the plant is on the government’s strategic investments list.

CGN has already signed a contract with Canadian firm Candu Energy, the technology supplier for Cernavoda units 1 and 2, for the construction of the third and fourth units.

The plant’s existing two units supply 20 per cent of Romania’s electricity.