6 Jan (NucNet): The Embalse nuclear power station in Argentina has been shut down for a maintenance and refurbishment programme that will see it continue to operate for another 30 years, making 60 in total, operator Nucleoeléctrica Argentina said.
As part of the programme, the single-unit Candu-6 pressurised heavy water reactor, which began commercial operation in December 1984, will have a power uprate of 35 megawatts, taking its gross capacity from 648 MW to 683 MW.
The shutdown is expected to last 22 months, Nucleoeléctrica said. The company did not say how much the refurbishment programme will cost.
Embalse is in the Calamuchita Valley, about 100km from the city of Córdoba in central Argentina. According to Nucleoeléctrica it supplies enough power to meet the requirements of three to four million people.
In November 2015 Nucleoeléctrica was given government approval to begin the process to acquire the site for a new nuclear power station near the existing Atucha nuclear site, about 100km northwest of Buenos Aires.
Nucleoeléctrica did not specify the technology to be used for the new station, but said planned output will be approximately 750 MW. Nucleoélectrica said it will be responsible for the design, preparation, construction, commissioning, and eventual operation of the unit.
Shortly after site approval was given, Argentina said China had agreed to finance Argentina’s fourth and fifth nuclear plants in a deal that will showcase Chinese technology and could be worth up to $15bn (€14bn). Argentina said the first agreement was for “the realisation” of the fourth plant, Atucha-3, and the second was a framework agreement for the implementation of the fifth.
Argentina has three commercially operational nuclear units, two at Atucha and one at Embalse, all operated by Nucleoeléctrica.