Russia and Argentina have signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy.
Rosatom director general Sergey Kiriyenko and Argentina’s minister of planning, investments and services, Julio de Vido, signed the document on 12 July, during Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to Argentina. It was one of a set of bilateral agreements signed after talks in Buenos Aires between Putin and his Argentinian counterpart, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Russia-Argentina July 2014 460 (Kremlin)
Kiriyenko and de Vido sign the agreement in front of the presidents (Image: Kremlin)
The agreement “will become a strong foundation for close cooperation” in nuclear power, Putin said at a press conference the two leaders gave after the talks.
The document replaces an agreement that expired in December 2012 and expands areas of cooperation, Rosatom said. These areas include design, construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants and research reactors, including water desalination facilities. They also include support of the nuclear fuel cycle, radioactive waste management, and isotope production, it said.
Rosatom quoted de Vido as saying that the agreement had a special significance, “given the intention of the Russian party to finance projects in Argentina [which] would help the development of nuclear power in the country.”
Argentina has two nuclear power units in operation – 335 MWe Atucha I and 660 MWe Embalse – and the 745 MWe Atucha 2, which reached first criticality last month. All are pressurized heavy water reactors.
Russian energy minister Alexander Novak told reporters after Putin and de Kirchner’s press conference that Rosatom had submitted the technical and commercial proposal for its participation in the construction of the third unit at the Atucha plant. The tender will be held in the third quarter, he said.
“As for the construction of fourth and fifth units at the nuclear power plant, Rosatom is now actively working here onsite, the technical and commercial proposal has already been handed over to our colleagues,” Novak reportedly said. Rosatom is prepared to participate both as contract client and contractor on one unit, he said. Rosatom “is prepared to provide comfortable financial terms, among other things,” he said.
In February 2010, the Argentine government signed an agreement with Rosatom to share technical information related to the construction of nuclear power plants and look at possibly using Russian technology in the country. In April that year, a nuclear cooperation agreement was signed with Russia, and in September 2010, another was signed with South Korea.
In May 2011 Rosatom and the Argentine planning and investments minister said they were discussing the possibility of joint development and construction of a 640 MWe reactor of unspecified type. In June 2012 the government signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with China, involving studies for a fourth nuclear power unit, financed by China, and a transfer of fuel fabrication and other technology.
Putin travels next to Brazil for bilateral talks and a summit of the merging BRICS economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Kremlin said.
Putin is also expected to sign a nuclear agreement with Brazil, during a meeting with that country’s president, Dilma Rousseff, Russian media have reported.