Contracts for new Argentine plant ready for signing

05 November 2015

Argentina and China have concluded negotiations on the technical and commercial contracts for the construction of Argentina's fourth nuclear power plant. The text of a framework agreement for construction of a fifth plant has also been agreed.

China-Argentina - October 2015 - 460 (CNNC)
The conclusion of contract negotiations between China and Argentina (Image: CNNC)

In July 2014, China and Argentina signed a new high-level agreement towards construction of a third pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) at the Atucha plant in Argentina. Through the agreement, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is to assist Nucleoeléctrica Argentina SA (NASA) by providing goods and services under long-term financing. That agreement was ratified in February 2015. The accord provides for NASA - holder of rights to Candu technology - to be designer, architect-engineer, builder and operator of the new reactor.

On 31 October, Argentina's Ministry of Federal Planning said that "important progress" had been made in negotiations between the partners, with agreement being reached on the technology to be used and on the terms of the commercial contracts for construction of the Atucha 3 PHWR.

"The commercial negotiating phase for the fourth nuclear plant has concluded and the definitive signing of the agreement will take place soon," the ministry said.

The latest round of negotiations was attended by Argentina's minister of federal planning Julio de Vido, economy minister Axel Kicillof, NNSA president Jose Luis Antunez and CNNC deputy general manager Li Xiaoming.

The text of the agreement for NNSA and CNNC to form a consortium for construction of the plant was also agreed. Under the agreement, over 70% of the components to be used in the plant will be supplied by Argentine companies. CNNC is now expected to advance the negotiations with Chinese financial institutions to conclude project financing.

Atucha 3 is expected to cost almost $6 billion and to take eight years to build at the Atucha Nuclear Power Plant Complex in Buenos Aires province, where the 335 MWe Atucha I and 745 MWe Atucha 2 currently operate. Atucha 3 will be a part Canadian-developed Candu reactor running on natural uranium fuel, like the 648 MWe Embalse Candu reactor in Córdoba province. CNNC operates two Candu 6 units at its Qinshan plant in China's Zhejiang province.

In addition, the text of a framework agreement between CNNC and NNSA for the fifth nuclear power plant was agreed and initialled.

This plant would be a Chinese-designed Hualong One pressurized water reactor (PWR), the first of its kind in Latin America. The $7 billion plant, to be installed at an undetermined location, would run on CNNC-supplied enriched uranium fuel and local light water.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News