China appears willing to help Moldova become a nuclear power. But for now officials in Chișinău seem hesitant to go all-in on atomic energy.
Chinese representatives from the state-run National Nuclear Power Company (NNPC) were in Moldova in mid-May for talks aimed at identifying opportunities to boost “bilateral cooperation in the energy sector,” according to an official statement. Chinese and Moldovan officials agreed to complete a feasibility study on “launching new projects for producing electricity in Moldova” by the end of 2016.
Officially, the NNPC wants to invest in “renewable energy, wind, solar, etc.” in Moldova, a country with about 3.6 million people. But the “etc.” is what matters.
The director of the Moldovan Academy of Sciences’ Energy Institute, Mihai Târşu, told EurasiaNet.org that the talks with China were not primarily about wind and solar energy investments, but nuclear energy. “I do not know whose idea it was to build a nuclear power plant in Moldova – Moldova’s or China’s,” Târșu said.
To read the full story
The Ministry of Economy did not respond to EurasiaNet.org's questions in time for publication, but later wrote that Moldova's limited energy sources prompt it to seek alternative forms of energy. "But each of them will be implemented only after a feasibility study that will determine the criteria for achieving the concrete projects," it wrote.
China in 2015 supplied 6.5 percent of Moldova's total foreign trade, or $375 million. The country's exports to China increased by 3.9 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to the economy ministry.
Thanks to both Moldova's geographical location and its foreign policy toward neighboring countries, it serves "as a bridge" between East and West, the ministry wrote.