The town’s name is derived from the Bulgarian černa voda (черна вода in Cyrillic), meaning “black water”. This name is regarded by some scholars as a calque of the earlier Thracian name Axíopa, from IE *n.ksei “dark” and upā “water” (cf. Avestan axšaēna “dark” and Lithuanian ùpė “river, creek”).
The town is a Danube fluvial port. It houses the Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant, consisting of two CANDU reactors providing about 18% of Romania’s electrical energy output. The second reactor was built through a joint venture between Canada‘s Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and Italy‘s ANSALDO and became fully functional in November 2007.
Cernavodă was one of the capitals of the short-lived Silistra Nouă County (1878–1879).