Persistent drought in Romania threatens Danube's power

  • Persistent drought in Romania threatens Danube's power

    Drop in the level of the river's waters means that nuclear reactor may have to close down

    In Cernavoda, a small town in southeast Romania, social housing projects stretch all along the left bank of the Danube. The now dilapidated buildings sprang up in the 1970s and 1980s, after the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided to build the country's first nuclear power plant there.

    In his ambition for power and prosperity, he also ordered a canal to be built from Cernavoda to Constantza, a port on the Black Sea, to shorten the trade route by 400km. The excavations were done by thousands of political prisoners, many of whom died.

    Today, 21 years after the fall of communism, the threat to Cernavoda is not from dictatorship but the drought that has hit Romania since August. "Look at the water level," said Vasile Mogos, who lives in a council flat by the river. "I would never have imagined that the Danube could fall so low.