Second tranche of funding for Atucha investment raised

19 April 2023

The fresh fundraising round for the operating extension of Atucha I and construction of a second dry storage facility for used fuel at the nuclear power plant site received offers of USD93 million, 16% more than expected, Nucleoelectrica Argentina (NA-SA) said.

The Atucha plant site (Image: Nucleoelectrica Argentina)

The NA-SA iV Public Infrastructure Solidarity Financial Trust is intended to finance a 20-year extension to Atucha unit I's operation and, together, the two projects "will make it possible to maintain nuclear participation in the Argentine energy system".

NA-SA told World Nuclear News in January that the trust was set up for a total amount of USD600 million across six tenders. This would cover both the projects, which are estimated at USD463 million for the licence extension of Atucha I and USD137 million for the dry storage facility. NA-SA said that the first tender of USD30 million was successfully raised in the first round.

Nación Bursátil was the main underwriter with BICE Fideicomisos as financial trustee and Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, Macro Securities SAU, Banco Galicia, Banco de Valores, Grupo SBS and Cohen as placement agents for the transaction. This tranche was open only to "qualified investors" - those who had a trading account with one of the placement issuers, the minimum investment was USD100 with a fixed interest rate of 5%.

The operating licence for Atucha I is due to run out in 2024 but it has a planned life extension project so it can produce power for a further two decades. To facilitate that, there will be a 30-month stoppage, with the work creating 2000 direct and 1000 indirect jobs, NA-SA said. The plan is for the installed capacity to increase from 362 MWe to 370 MWe as part of the long-term operation work.

The extension to the operation of the plant requires a new repository to increase the storage capacity for used fuel and the plan for the new facility is for work to start in 2023 and end in 2026.

The money will be held separately from NA-SA's finances, hence the term trust. The returns are backed by sales of electricity according to the remuneration contract between NA-SA and CAMMESA, the wholesale market management company, for electricity generated by NA-SA's three nuclear plants, Atucha I, Atucha II and Embalse, which have combined capacity of 1763 MWe.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News