Talks on Algerian nuclear power aspirations begin soon

29 February 2016

Russia and Algeria plan to meet for talks this week on the possibility of building a nuclear power plant in Algeria, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said in an interview with Algerian newspaper L'Expression that was published on 28 February. The Russian foreign ministry published a transcript of the interview on its website the same day.

Lavrov referred to the intergovernmental agreement the two countries signed in September 2014 to cooperate in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. A joint coordinating committee tasked with implementing the agreement will convene on 1-3 March in Algiers, the minister said.

"The agenda of the meeting includes discussion of the possibility of building a nuclear power plant of Russian design in the territory of Algeria, the development of Algeria's nuclear infrastructure and non-power applications of nuclear technology - for example, in medicine," he said.

The intergovernmental agreement - signed on 3 September in Algiers by Rosatom director general Sergey Kiriyenko and Algerian energy minister Youcef Yousfi - provides for the design, construction, operation and servicing of nuclear power plants as well as research reactors in Algeria. All technologies, materials and equipment transferred to Algeria under the agreement will be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear corporation, said at the time.

In addition, the two countries said they intended to carry out jointly exploration and operation of uranium deposits, Rosatom said. The agreement also states the possibility of the use of nuclear technologies in agriculture, biology, soil science, seawater desalination, and medicine, including the production of radioisotopes. The two sides will also cooperate in radiation safety in Algeria.

In February 2009 Algeria announced that it planned to build its first nuclear power plant to be operating about 2020, and might build a further unit every five years thereafter. In 2013 the target became a first plant by 2025, and a Nuclear Engineering Institute was established to provide training. In September 2009 its National Mining Patrimony Agency put uranium exploration leases in the southern Tamanrasset province out for tender.

Algeria has operated two research reactors since 1995, at Draria and Ain Ouessara. The 15 MWt Es-Salam plant is a Chinese heavy water reactor which started up in 1992, the Nur 1 MWe pool unit was built by INVAP of Argentina in the 1980s.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News