AECL Signs Agreement For Completion Of Argentina’s Atucha-2

By David Dalton
28 November 2006

28 Nov (NucNet): Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) has signed an agreement with Nucleoelectrica Argentina for the refurbishment of the 600-megawatt (MW) Embalse Candu-6 reactor unit and the completion of the Atucha-2 pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) unit at the Atucha nuclear power plant near Buenos Aires.

AECL, which designs and builds Candu reactors, said the agreement will also include a feasibility study into the construction of another 700 MW Candu-6 unit to go into service around 2015.

In May 2004, the Argentinean government said it wanted to complete Atucha-2 using public funds. Construction of the 692-megawatt unit began in 1981, but was suspended in 1994 with approximately 80% of the work completed.

AECL said the agreement sets out the framework for a programme that will “greatly enhance” peaceful nuclear energy cooperation, with commercial opportunities for both countries. The agreement will allow Argentina to supply services and heavy water to other markets where Candu reactors operate.

In August 2006, Argentina outlined plans for major investment in its nuclear power programme including completing construction of Atucha-2 and resuming uranium enrichment, which was halted in the 1990s.

Argentina’s nuclear energy programme is centred on heavy water reactor technology. The country has two nuclear power units in commercial operation: Embalse, which has a pressure tube reactor system delivered by AECL, and Atucha-1, a 335-MW PHWR with a pressure vessel reactor system delivered by German company Siemens KWU. Siemens KWU was also the main reactor system contractor for Atucha-2, officially listed as “under construction”. The unit has the biggest pressure vessel ever built.

>>Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers)

Argentina’s Nuclear Output Increases And Expansion Announced In 2004 (News in Brief No. 11, 1 February 2005)

AECL To Help Argentina Explore Possibility Of New-Build (World Nuclear Review No. 22, 2 June 2006)

Argentina Details Plans For New Nuclear Investment And Restart Of Enrichment (News No. 181, 24 August 2006)

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