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China to build two nuclear power plants in Argentina

By YANG YAO in Beijing | China Daily Latin America | Updated: 2015-02-09 05:03

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, on her three-day state visit to China signed 15 agreements with Chinese President Xi Jinping, including travel visas, information technology, media, energy, space technology, financing, and collaboration on two new nuclear power plants.

She said at the opening ceremony that the countries should strengthen cooperation in fields including infrastructure and energy, and promote the sound and stable development of bilateral trade.

The two countries signed an agreement to build two nuclear plants in Argentina.

Fernandez said on her Twitter that the IV Nuclear Plant and V Nuclear Plant require investment of $5.8 billion and $7 billion respectively.

The financial amounts and details of the deals were not disclosed.

Kirchner said that the two nuclear plants would be built in Argentina with transfer of technology from China.

The countries are working together to build two hydropower dams - the Nestor Kirchner and Jorge Cepernic - in Argentina with an installed capacity of 1,140 and 600 megawatts respectively.

"Both sides are committed to strengthening our cooperation in various fields, especially our cooperation on basic infrastructure development ... and in promoting the sound and stable development of bilateral trade," President Xi Jinping said.

The 21st Century Business Herald reported on Feb 6 that the two countries signed an agreement to build pressurized water reactor (pwr) nuclear power units in Argentina. The report said that according to the agreement, China would provide financial support to the project if the Argentine nuclear project uses Chinese nuclear power technology.

It also mentioned that the two countries have agreed to appoint China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to execute the cooperation agreement.

The deal was signed in Beijing by Nur Bekri, head of the National Energy Administration and Julio De Vido, Argentina's minister of federal planning, public investment and services, on Wednesday. The ceremony was witnessed by President Xi Jinping and President Fernandez de Kirchner.

The report said that Argentine nuclear company would still use a bidding system to invite more competition in the project; however CNNC is in clear advantage. If Argentina uses Chinese nuclear technology, CNNC would participate fully in the project, from design, equipment, construction, finance, service, to fuel fabrication and fuel treatment.

“It will mean a lot to Chinese companies going out strategy,” the report said.

CNNC, China's largest nuclear power plant operator, said on Thursday it will export its third-generation technology to Argentina under a bilateral agreement.

This will be the first time for China to export nuclear technology to Latin America.

ACP1000 is a third-generation nuclear reactor developed independently by CNNC.

The reactor passed a review by an expert panel in Beijing on Friday, and construction will begin at the foreign site, after a domestic ACP1000 reactor work begins at the end of this year, a previous China Daily article said.

"We're very confident about the prospects for our technology exports, due to its higher safety level and lower costs," Lyu Huaxiang, CNNC vice-president, was quoted as saying on Friday.

Argentina already operates three nuclear power stations that use technology from Germany and Canada. Allowing Chinese companies to participate in new plants means China's nuclear technology can be competitive with its Western peers, Ma Yi, an expert at China Nuclear Power Engineering Co said in an interview with China Daily.

"The technology is relatively mature," said Ma, adding China has two nuclear plants planned for the Hualong One technology: Fuqing in Fujian province and Fangchenggang in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

"The high-level cooperation in many sectors, especially energy and infrastructure would play an important role in global economy recovery, as well as the economic cooperation in the pan- Asia-Pacific region," said Zhou Zhiwei, a researcher in Brazilian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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