Romania bets on small modular nuclear as coal cliff edge looms

By Victor Jack | 02/21/2024 06:30 AM EST

The country is leading EU efforts on small-scale reactors that could make the bloc a clean tech leader. But so far, they remain unproven.

DOICEŞTI, Romania — Constantin Stroe is hopeful again.

Growing up in an apartment facing the sprawling 40-hectare coal power plant complex that was once the beating heart of his native Șotânga, the small-town mayor of 24 years saw the devastation wrought on locals after the site slowly laid off its 3,000 workers and shut up shop a decade ago.

“There was a total collapse, a lack of trust in the future because they had no prospects on anything,” he said, between long drags of a cigarette in his snug municipal office that sits surrounded by vacant leafy roads and crumbling brick houses.


A quarter of the working population soon deserted the town of 7,000, which lies north-west of Bucharest. “Families … were torn apart,” he said. “Some remained, some went to work abroad.”