India, Argentina further cooperation in nuclear energy

20 February 2019

India and Argentina have agreed to boost cooperation in the nuclear energy sector with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on 18 February by India’s Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership and Argentina's National Atomic Energy Commission during Argentine President Mauricio Macri's state visit to Delhi this week.

Argentine's President Mauricio Macri (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi give a press conference following their meeting (Image: Argentinean Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The two countries signed an Agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy in 2010. That agreement has led to progress in cooperation on the Fission Molly Project, the molybdenum plant being built in Mumbai by the Argentine company INVAP, with a target for completion in 2020.

According to a joint statement issued by India's Ministry of External Affairs, they have also hope to: "enhance and explore cooperative ventures" in civilian nuclear power; other societal uses of nuclear energy in the health, agriculture sectors and for industrial applications; and training. They also noted that the MoU would "bolster institutional linkages" in civilian nuclear R&D and capacity building.

"Both sides expressed satisfaction with the support extended to their respective candidatures in various multilateral organisations. In this context, India expressed gratitude for Argentina's support to India's accession to the various non-proliferation regimes, including the Missile Treaty Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group, and the active role played by Argentina for India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group," according to the joint statement.

In December, Argentina and Russia announced their plan to expand cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy following the signing of a strategic document on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. The document was signed on 1 December by Alexey Likhachov, director general of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, and Argentina's Minister of Energy, Javier Iguacel. According to the document, the two countries will also consider the joint operation of a fleet of Russian-designed floating nuclear power plants. A cooperation 'roadmap' on the implementation of specific Russian-Argentine nuclear energy projects was also signed.

In October, Russia and India announced they had agreed to work together to increase the level of Indian localisation in a project to build six nuclear units at a new site in India. The Action Plan for Prioritisation and Implementation of Cooperation Areas in the Nuclear Field was signed on the sidelines of the 19th India-Russia Bilateral Summit in New Delhi. According to the document, which was signed by Alexey Likhachov, head of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, and Kamlesh Vyas, chairman of India's Department of Atomic Energy, the new-build project will reference evolutionary VVER generation 3+ technical solutions with increased involvement from Indian industry. The agreement also covers the two countries' intent to enhance nuclear cooperation in "third countries" and in "new perspective" nuclear technologies, with joint construction of nuclear power plants, Rosatom said. No site was named for the six new reactors.

In June last year, Nucleoeléctrica Argentina SA (NA-SA) signed an MoU with Belgium's Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN) aimed at extending cooperation on nuclear safety between the two organisations that has existed for more than 15 years. The MoU defines the framework for cooperation on issues related to inspection programmes for the steel and internal components of reactor pressure vessels; aging and degradation of materials; long-term operation of nuclear power plants; waste management and disposal; and training and education.

And in May 2017, China announced it is to supply Argentina with two nuclear power reactors - one a Candu pressurised heavy water reactor, the other a Hualong One pressurised water reactor. The contract was among 19 agreements signed in Beijing during a meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Argentinean president.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News