Russian, Argentine nuclear cooperation agreement

05 February 2010

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy has been signed between Russian state nuclear company Rosatom and Argentina's Ministry of Federal Planning, Investment and Services.


The MoU was signed on 3 February by Nikolay Spasskiy, deputy director general of Rosatom, and Julio de Vido, Argentina's minister of federal planning, investment and services.


In particular, the MoU states that Rosatom will provide Argentine counterparts with technical information with which to analyze the possibility of constructing Russian VVER nuclear power plants in Argentina. In addition, Rosatom agreed to form a joint working group with Argentine authorities to determine the extent of possible participation of Argentine industry in the implementation of Russian projects.


The MoU also provides for cooperation in research and development in the nuclear fuel cycle. A technical visit of Argentine professionals to Russia is scheduled to take place in the first half of 2010.


The memorandum was signed at the end of a nine-day visit to Argentina by a delegation from Rosatom. During their stay in Argentina, the Russian delegation visited the construction site of the second reactor at the Atucha nuclear power plant, as well as the CONAUR fuel fabrication plant.


An agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy was signed between Russia and Argentina in October 1990. In December 2008, Rosatom and Argentina's Ministry of Federal Planning, Investment and Services signed a joint statement on nuclear cooperation.


In September 2009, Argentina signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Jordan covering cooperation on basic research and applicable areas; the production and use of radioactive isotopes; the exploration of metallic minerals; the design, construction and operation of nuclear power and research reactors; fuel components and materials; and, the processing of radioactive waste. Also that month, AECL of Canada signed an agreement with Nucleoeléctrica Argentina SA and Argentina's National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) to extend a number of existing cooperation programs related to Candu 6 reactors and the development of the Advanced Candu Reactor (ACR-1000). In November 2008, Argentina signed a bilateral agreement with Algeria for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.


Two nuclear power reactors are currently in operation in Argentina: Atucha unit 1 and Embalse unit 1, both pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs). Atucha 1 is a 335 MWe PHWR supplied by Siemens, which started up in 1974. Embalse 1 is a 600 MWe Canadian-supplied Candu 6 reactor, which began operating in 1983.


Construction of the second unit at Atucha - a Siemens-supplied 692 MWe PHWR - started in 1980, but was suspended in 1984 due to lack of funding. Construction resumed in 2006 and the unit is scheduled to begin operating in 2011.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News