|The Atucha plant on the banks of the Parana River 115 kilometres from Buenos Aires
Argentina's new nuclear reactor at Atucha successfully synchronised to the grid during a commissioning test as the unit prepares for operation.
Work originally began on Atucha 2, a Siemens-designed pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR), in June 1981, before a lack of funds eventually caused the project to stall in 1994. The project was revived after a 2006 government decision to complete the plant as part of a $3.5 billion strategic plan for the country's nuclear power sector.
The reactor design is unique to Argentina and commissioning has been slow. Owner and operator, the utility Nucleoeléctrica Argentina SA, began loading fuel in December 2012, and the first hot tests as well as pressure tests of the primary circuit and moderator were completed in January this year. It will use some 525 tonnes of heavy water as coolant and moderator and natural uranium dioxide fuel.
The grid synchonisation test announced today by the Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment and Services saw non-nuclear heat used to spin turbines to operational speeds of 1500 rpm and synchronise with the power grid for 20 minutes. Unit 2 is expected to begin power generation at the end of this year at a gross capacity of 745 MWe. It is essentially a scaled up version of the older unit at the power plant, rated at 335 MWe net.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News