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Argentina to build new CANDU reactor

South American country to add to its nuclear fleet with Chinese assistance

A new study argues nuclear power would create some "$60-billion in greater direct benefit to Ontario's economy" versus wind energy. PHOTO Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL)

Qinshan plant in Zhejiang, China. The plant uses CANDU technology and is operated by China National Nuclear Corp. PHOTO Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL)

BUENOS AIRES—Argentina is doubling down on nuclear energy.

The country’s state utility, Nucleoelectrica Argentina Sociedad Anonima, has penned an agreement with China National Nuclear Corp. that will see the Chinese entity build and provide much of the financing for two new reactors in the South American country. One of the reactors will use CANDU, or Canada Deuterium Uranium technology, while the other will employ a Chinese reactor design the Asian country has been promoting for export.

The agreement, announced last week, will increase the number of CANDU reactors in Argentina from one to two. Argentina’s NA-SA noted it owns the rights to CANDU within Argentina and is able to replicate it. Meanwhile, China’s CNNC is also familiar with the technology, operating two CANDU reactors at its Qinshan plant in Zhejiang, China.

The new CANDU reactor will have a 700 megawatt capacity and will take approximately eight years to build, while the Chinese reactor will have a 1,000 megawatt capacity and runs on enriched uranium and light water. CNNC will reportedly provide 85 per cent of the financing for the project, and Argentinian companies will secure as much as 60 per cent of the work under local content rules.

The Nucleoelectrica Argentina Sociedad Anonima said the projects will cost approximately $15 billion.

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