CAREM small reactor set for Formosa province

01 December 2009

The governor of Argentina's north-western Formosa province has said that the prototype of the domestically designed CAREM small modular nuclear reactor will be deployed within the province.


CAREM (Invap)

How a power plant based on the CAREM

reactor could look (Image: Invap)


The announcement by governor Gildo Insfrán followed the approval on 24 November of a bill by the Argentine Senate which, in addition to approving the construction of a fourth nuclear power reactor in the country, requires the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) to design, implement and commission the prototype CAREM (Central Argentina Modular Elements) reactor.


Insfrán, together with a team of scientists from Formosa province, will soon visit Norma Luisa Boero, president of the CNEA, to discuss construction of the proposed unit.


The CAREM design was developed by Invap under contract with the CNEA as a simplified modular pressurised water reactor (PWR) with integral steam generators. It can be used for electricity, generating 27 MWe, or as a research reactor at up to 100 MWt. It can also be used for water desalination with 8 MWe in power cogeneration. Recent studies have explored scaling the design up to 300 MWe.


The CAREM reactor has its entire primary coolant system within the reactor pressure vessel, self-pressurised and relying entirely on convection. Fuel is standard 3.4% enriched PWR fuel, with burnable poison, and is refuelled annually.


On its website Invap says, "International nuclear market projections show a progressive rise in the demand of electricity and power reactors for the next years. A large share of this market is comprised by countries with little or no development in nuclear generation as well as other applications in isolated areas that are interested in Small and Medium size Reactors (SMRs). To date, this demand has not been adequately met." It adds, "This represents a unique opportunity that will allow Argentina to strengthen its technological and commercial leadership in the nuclear field, achieved through the exportation of research reactors, equipment and plants to different nations."


Invap notes, "To make use of this opportunity, it is essential to build a prototype that may act as concept demonstration plant and grant Argentina a decisive advantage to conquer such market."