China and Argentina reaffirm reactor agreement

01 July 2016

China and Argentina have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) reaffirming their plans to construct two new nuclear power reactors in the Latin American country with financing from Chinese banks. Construction of Argentina's fourth reactor is to start early next year.

Argentina-China MOU June 2016 - 460 (MINEM)
Aranguren and Bekri after the signing of the MOU (Image: Argentine Ministry of Energy and Mining)

Last November, Argentina signed deals with China for the construction of its fourth and fifth nuclear power plants: a third Candu pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) at the Atucha site and a pressurized water reactor (PWR) at an unspecified site. The projects are worth around $15 billion and China will contribute 85% of the required financing, according to a statement issued at that time by the Argentine president's office.

An MOU affirming the November agreement - made under the previous government of then-president Cristina Fernandez - was signed in Beijing yesterday by Argentina's minister of energy and mining Juan José Aranguren and Nur Bekri, director of China's National Energy Administration.

A statement from the Argentine ministry said, "According to the document, both Argentina and China commit to speed up negotiations to begin construction of the first of the two agreed units for the first quarter of 2017 and the second by 2019."

It added, "Thus, the Argentine government gives concrete signs of commitment to the expansion of power generation capacity and specifically in regard to nuclear power generation."

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.

"China and Argentina, though a world apart, are in close nuclear cooperation," CNNC general manager Qian Zhimin was quoted as saying by the People's Daily. "The two countries share a tradition of friendship and both governments also attached much significance to nuclear cooperation."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News