Business / Industries

Argentina, China nuclear plant agreements bear 'historic importance'

( Updated: 2015-11-16 15:08

BUENOS AIRES -- Agreements between Argentina and China on the construction of two nuclear power stations in the South American country have "historic importance," according to Argentinean government on Sunday.

Argentina's Ministry of Federal Planning announced in a press release that "the contracts and agreements on building the fourth and fifth nuclear plants in Argentina have been signed," in Antalya, Turkey, where the G20 Leaders Summit was held.

Under the agreements, China's third-generation nuclear reactor design, known as the Hualong One design, will be used in the fifth nuclear plant in Argentina, a key emerging market for Chinese companies.

President of Argentina's state-run energy company Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A.(NA-SA) Jose Luis Antunez, and General Manager of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Qian Zhimin, signed the technical and commercial contracts that will bring strategic development to Argentina's nuclear power plan.

"The construction of two new nuclear power plants will ensure our energy supply in the future," said Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof on Sunday.

The agreements "are very favorable" as they will "give us energy and competitiveness," Kicillof added, who also attended the signing ceremony.

"The sector's recent development as part of a strategic plan for the next decade is already a government policy," Federal Planning Minister Julio de Vido said.

The estimated investment of the fourth nuclear plant is $5.99 billion. Most of the financing will come from Chinese bank loans at a preferential rate, according to the Federal Planning Ministry.

The fourth plant with a heavy-water reactor will use a Canada Deuterium Uranium (Candu) style reactor, similar to the one in the Embalse Nuclear Power Station in Cordoba, Argentina. It will generate approximately 750 megawatts of power upon completion and will create direct employment for over 7,000 workers.

It will be built in the Atucha Nuclear Complex, adjacent to the Nestor Kirchner Nuclear Power Plant and the Juan Domingo Peron Nuclear Power Plant, 110 km from Argentina's capital city of Buenos Aires.

NA-SA will be the future plant's designer, builder and operator, and the CNNC will cooperate by providing teams of experts, components and services.

The two countries signed an agreement on jointly building two nuclear plants in Argentina during Argentine President Cristina Kirchner's visit to China in February 2015.

Under the agreement, the CNNC will partner with the NA-SA to build the two nuclear plants to double Argentina's nuclear power capacity.

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