x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Argentina's deals with China signal depth of commitment

Argentina recently extended its cooperation with China in the field of nuclear energy with the signing of two agreements covering operations and technology.

Argentina is not pinning all its hopes on the UAE.

It recently extended its cooperation with China in the field of nuclear energy with the signing of two agreements covering operations and technology, as well as the use of Chinese goods and services in Argentine exports.

Both agreements were signed in Buenos Aires at the end of last month by the utility Nucleoeléctrica Argentina and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

Under the first agreement, Nucleoeléctrica and CNNC will cooperate on issues related to reactor pressure tubes, including engineering, fabrication, operation and maintenance, according to the World Nuclear News website.

It will also cover the manufacture and storage of nuclear fuel, licensing, life extension and technological advances. This agreement is aimed at both operating and future nuclear power plant projects.

The second agreement calls for the transfer of Chinese technology to Argentina. Under the accord, Argentina could act as a technology platform, supplying third countries with nuclear technology incorporating Chinese goods and services.

In addition, the CNNC delegation presented technical and financial aspects of its CAP-1000 reactor, which is one of several designs being considered for Argentina's fourth nuclear power reactor.

The signing of the two agreements follows a July 2012 nuclear cooperation accord between Argentina and China involving studies for a fourth nuclear power plant, financed by China, and in the transfer of fuel fabrication and other technology.

Argentina has two operating power reactors, one at Atucha and the other at Embalse. A second unit at Atucha is nearing completion. Work began on this in 1981 but was suspended due to lack of funds in the 1990s before resuming in 2006. All three units are pressurised heavy-water reactors. Embalse is a 600 MWe Candu-6, while the Atucha units are a Siemens design unique to Argentina.

Government plans call for the construction of a fourth unit and a feasibility study has already been conducted. In July 2007, Nucleoeléctrica signed an agreement with Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) to establish contract and project terms for construction of a 740 megawatts gross Enhanced Candu 6 reactor, as well as completing Atucha 2. A further 740MW Enhanced Candu 6 unit was proposed.

However, the government has also been talking with reactor vendors from France, Russia, Japan, South Korea, China and the USA, suggesting that the choice of reactor design may not be certain. A final decision on Atucha 3 is pending on the completion of Atucha 2.

In September 2007, AECL signed a memorandum of understanding with Nucleoeléctrica and CNNC to conduct a joint study for cooperation in the design, manufacture, construction and operation of Candu nuclear power reactors on future projects in Argentina, Canada and China. In addition, CNNC and Nucleoeléctrica agreed to strengthen cooperation in sharing and exchanging their Candu 6 reactor operational and maintenance experience.

Argentina's economic activity expanded 1.9 per cent in 2012 from the previous year, the national statistics institute said at the weekend in Buenos Aires.

Activity rose 1.1 per cent in December from a year earlier and 0.4 per cent from November. December year-on-year activity trailed the 1.9 per cent median estimate of eight economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

South America's second-biggest economy probably grew 1.9 per cent last year, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the president said last week, down from 8.9 per cent in 2011.

Argentina's consumer prices rose 1.1 per cent last month from the previous month, the national statistics agency reported. Prices climbed 11.1 per cent from a year earlier, the agency said on Friday, meeting the median estimate of six economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Official inflation figures continue to trail private estimates, which showed annual inflation quickened to 26.3 per cent last month while prices rose 2.6 per cent from a month earlier, according to an opposition party report last week.

The alleged underreporting of official inflation figures prompted the IMF to censure Argentina on February 1.

Argentina's economic activity expanded 1.9 per cent last monthfrom the previous year, the national statistics institute said today in Buenos Aires.

Activity rose 1.1 per cent in December from a year earlier and 0.4 per cent from November

December year-on-year activity trailed the 1.9 per cent median estimate of eight economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

South America's second-biggest economy probably grew 1.9 per cent last year, Ms Kirchner said last week, down from 8.9 per cent in 2011.

 

* with agencies