Business / Companies

CNNC clinches $4.7 billion nuclear deal in Argentina

By Lyu Chang (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-17 07:36

China National Nuclear Corp has clinched deals with Argentina, opening the doors for exports of nuclear equipment which might amount to 30 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) to the South American country.

The State-owned CNNC has inked contracts for work related to Argentina's fourth nuclear reactor and an agreement for a fifth nuclear power plant.

Qian Zhimin, its general manager, said the agreement exemplifies the deep friendship, mutual trust and extended cooperation between the two countries since 2010.

"We would like to share our experiences and advances with Argentina as the country develops its nuclear industry. At the same time, we hope that the mutual cooperation will provide us with more market opportunities in Latin America and also boost the local economy," he said.

The firm has exported six nuclear reactors, five miniature neutron source reactors, two nuclear research facilities and one experimental reactor, said a statement from CNNC.

The agreement was signed over the weekend during the 10th summit of the G20 major economies in Antalya, Turkey between CNNC and Nucleoelectrica, the state-owned nuclear operator of Argentina.

The fifth rector will use China's homegrown pressurized-water nuclear technology, known as Hualong One, CNNC said.

The fourth reactor, Atucha 3, built on the Atucha Nuclear Power Plant Complex in Buenos Aires province, will use heavy-water technology developed by Canada's Candu Inc. The project is likely to cost about $6 billion, earlier reports said.

Many of the technology's other possible export destinations are along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, two key trade routes to Europe, an initiative of which proposed by President Xi Jinping to strengthen regional economic integration.

More than 60 of the countries along the Belt and the Road are either developing a nuclear industry or planning to start nuclear power programs, said the statement, adding that the number of nuclear power plants under construction in those countries is expected to reach 200 by 2030.

If China is able to win about one-fifth of that share, about 30 nuclear units are likely to be exported, according to the CNNC statement.

Zhang Luqing, a nuclear expert at CNNC's science and technology commission, said that it is an opportune time for Chinese companies to grasp the opportunities, as there is huge potential for export of nuclear power plants.

"Nuclear power is still an important fuel for many countries as they seek to reduce fossil-fuel shares in the overall energy mix.

"They want not only high-standard nuclear technologies but also financial support as a result of the global economic slowdown, which gives a competitive edge for Chinese companies," Zhang said.

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