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Romania bets on long shot ‘baby nukes’ as coal cliff edge looms

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Politico or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Romania is pioneering the development of small modular reactors (SMRs) on the site of a former coal power plant, aiming to revitalize its economy, create jobs, and reduce emissions
• This initiative is part of a broader European interest in nuclear power as a clean energy alternative, especially following energy security concerns triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine

🔭 The context: The project represents a significant shift for Romania, which seeks to transition from coal-based energy to nuclear power by installing six advanced miniature reactors
• These reactors are expected to generate up to 300 megawatts each, suitable for local grids and potentially replacing coal plants across Eastern Europe
• The European Commission is supporting the technology to strengthen the EU's clean tech industry against global competitors

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: SMRs could help the EU achieve its climate goals by providing a low-emission energy source that complements intermittent renewable energies like wind and solar
• Successful deployment could lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and foster a clean energy transition in coal-dependent regions

⏭️ What's next: The Romanian government aims to operationalize at least one of the planned reactors by 2030, amidst challenges such as unproven technology and the need for significant investment

💬 One quote: “We are on a fast track to moving off of coal,” (Sebastian Burduja, Romania’s Energy Minister)

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