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Our maxim: “understanding before action”
Our purpose is to encourage the knowledge and the debate of issues connected with art and military science. Selection of articles attempts to reflect different opinions. Beyond any ideological ascription. In order to impulse critical thought amongst our readers.

jueves, 24 de julio de 2014

La Argentina como potencia nuclear.

Argentina Looking to Cement Its Role as Nuclear Power

By Global Insider
Argentina signed a nuclear energy deal with Russia last week, the latest step in Argentina’s push to expand its nuclear industryIrma Arguello, chair of the NPSGlobal Foundation, discussed Argentina’s nuclear energy policy in an email interview. 

WPR: How much of Argentina's energy do the country’s nuclear plants currently produce?

Irma Arguello: Argentina’s two fully operational nuclear power plants—Atucha I and Embalse—jointly produce 930 megawatts of electricity, or about 4.7 percent of the country’s total electricity output. A third power plant, Atucha II, which came online this year, will be capable of producing 692 MW once it becomes fully operational. There are also plans to build two more nuclear power plants in the coming years. 

WPR: Who are Argentina's main nuclear energy partners and what type of support have they provided?

Arguello: Argentina’s nuclear program has been exceptional in many senses since its origins in the 1950s. Unlike the majority of developing countries, Argentina’s long-term goal was always to build up its national capabilities for design and construction of nuclear facilities, rather than relying on turnkey agreements. The promotion of domestic capabilities, and particularly the decision to dominate the entire nuclear fuel cycle, has been a core part of the national nuclear strategy. 

The first research reactors were based on American designs, and the U.S. also provided the enriched uranium for their operation. Some of these reactors were then modified using local technology, and new ones were subsequently developed locally. Since 1978, Argentina has been an exporter of research and multipurpose reactors to Peru, Algeria, Egypt and Australia, and it is currently developing a multipurpose reactor for Brazil.

When Argentina decided to pursue nuclear power generation in the 1960s, the government sought foreign suppliers for their first reactors, but maintained an active role during their construction and execution. 

Argentina’s first power plant, the Atucha I, operational since 1974, was based on a German Siemens 330 MW pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR). The country’s second nuclear power plant, Embalse, online since 1984, is based on a 600 MW CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) reactor. That project was jointly awarded to Canada’s AECL and Italy’s Italimpianti, with close involvement of Argentine partners.

While the first two nuclear power plants were contracted on a turnkey basis, Argentina was significantly more involved in the design and execution of its third nuclear power plant, Atucha II, for which Argentina partnered with the German Kraftwerk Union AG. Construction began in 1981 but work progressed slowly and stopped in 1994. In 2006 the state-owned Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A. (NASA) took over the project, but at that time, the original foreign partner was not available anymore, so different suppliers and public and private national developers were called to complete the project. 

Other facilities were developed domestically, including the Pilcaniyeu uranium enrichment plant—built in 1983, suspended in the mid-1990s and currently in the process of restoration—as well as a never completed reprocessing plant and several research reactors for local operation and export. 

For the design and construction of the future fourth and fifth nuclear power plants, several potential international partners have already been pre-qualified: the Russian Rosatom, the French Areva, the multinational Westinghouse, the South Korean Kepco and the Chinese CNNC, but a final choice has not yet been made. 

The CAREM (Central Argentina de Elementos Modulares) reactor, an advanced small/medium reactor, is another example of Argentina’s determination to pursue its own nuclear research and development: A prototype of 25 MW is currently under construction outside Buenos Aires. It will be the first power reactor entirely designed and built in Argentina.

WPR: What are the motivations behind Argentina's push to expand its nuclear energy capacity?

Arguello: There are several motivations. First, for over 60 years, Argentina has seen the nuclear industry as a pole of technological and industrial development. Second, the country wants to cement its role as a player in the competitive world of global nuclear suppliers. Third, Argentina wants to protect its long-standing nuclear tradition and achievements in nuclear development, which it sees as a key factor for independence. In addition, Argentine society recognizes nuclear development as a source of national prestige. There is also broad public confidence in how nuclear energy is managed, though there is an activist minority opposed to it. Lastly, there is a need to diversify national energy sources by reducing the use of fossil fuels. Each future nuclear power plant, including Atucha II, would represent a daily savings for the country of about $1.5 million in liquid fuel imports.
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