Candu Energy 20120709

The Pickering Nuclear Power Generating Station east of Toronto is shown in this August 19, 2003 file photo. Romanian and Chinese companies have signed a letter of intent to buy two new Candu reactors for Romania. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Candu Energy Inc. says it has a letter of intent to develop two new nuclear plants in Romania on the site of two Candu reactors built in 1996 and 2007.

Candu Energy, a unit of SNC Lavalin, signed the agreement with Romania’s Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN)  and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), both state-owned companies.

Candu officials are in Romania meeting with CGN, a Chinese energy company which has more than 6,000 megawatts of installed nuclear capacity around the world.

Romania and China signed two nuclear cooperation agreements earlier this week to clear the way for the Chinese company to take a role in building new reactors on the Cernavoda site. CNG is investing in the project, estimated to cost $5.4 billion.

Romania has been looking for private investors to finance the extension of Cernavoda, since four earlier investors, including CEZ of the Czech Republic and GDF Suez of France, pulled out in 2011.

Romania currently has two Candu 6 reactors, which provide about 20 per cent of electricity for the country of 20 million people.

CNG engineers are to visit Canada to study the project further. China has had Candu reactors for about 10 years.

The Candu is a heavy-water moderated and heavy-water cooled pressure tube reactor, but few have been sold in recent years as countries move away from nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.