Looming Strike Deadline Threatens Critical Phase of Romanian Cernavodă Nuclear Refurbishments

Will a return to SNC-Lavalin’s fractious labour past disrupt Romania’s electricity system?

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, May 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Amid critical work planning for the refurbishment of reactors at the Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant, members of the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) face a rapidly approaching strike/lockout deadline at 12:01am Eastern Standard Time on May 29, 2022. Contracts expired at the end of 2021.

“As Romania plans for this important upgrade and life extension to its nuclear power plant, SPEA members want to remain laser-focused on the work we need to do to deliver stable, affordable and low-carbon electricity for Romania,” said Corey Martin, Vice President of SPEA.

Additionally, Romania's Cernavodă Unit 1 is in the middle of a planned maintenance outage. SPEA members are currently on-site performing critical maintenance activities that could be stopped if there were a strike or lockout. A stoppage of any kind during maintenance would delay the unit from being brought back online for vital power production.

The work of SPEA, representing scientific, technical, engineering, and professional workers at SNC-Lavalin’s Candu Energy, is integral to the refurbishment and servicing of Romania’s nuclear energy fleet – primarily responsible for 15 to 20 percent of Romania’s energy supply.  The two current reactors at Cernavodă will need to be powered down for multi-year refurbishments, while work on building two additional units takes place.

“Candu Energy requires highly specialized scientific and engineering staff.  We need to make sure we can keep and attract the top-tier talent we need to deliver critical refurbishment and construction work for Romania’s nuclear power plant,” said Martin. “We are determined to do whatever it takes to reach fair, competitive agreements, and swiftly.  But we need Candu Energy to bring the same focus to the bargaining table.”

Romania will need to deploy more expensive, higher-emitting hydrocarbon sources of energy while refurbishments are underway. The country receives an estimated forty-two percent of energy production from coal (25 percent) and oil and gas (17 percent). To meet its climate change commitments, Romania has recognized that nuclear is a safe, reliable, and clean energy solution.

SPEA members are concerned that new management at Candu Energy threatens a return to the fractious bargaining relationship of the past, marked by a 12+ week strike shortly after SNC-Lavalin took over AECL’s nuclear reactor business in 2011.  “After 2012, SNC-Lavalin took great pains to set out on a new direction, renewing its board and its senior executives – including a collaborative approach to labour relations,” said Reza Ziaei, Specialist Resident Engineer and Vice President of SPEA. “We cannot afford a return to the mistakes of the past – nor can the businesses and residents in Romania who depend on our work.”

About SPEA

The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates is an independent union representing engineers, scientists, technical and administrative staff, who work for Candu Energy Inc- Nuclear division of SNC-Lavalin (formerly Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Candu division) in Mississauga, Ontario and abroad (excluding AECL Chalk River Laboratories). Formed in 1974, SPEA is one of the oldest professional unions in Canada.

For further information contact:

Michelle Duncan, Staff Representative
Phone: 416-427-3525
Email: michelle.duncan@spea.ca