Argentine president supports heavy water reactor project

(cnnc.com.cn) | Updated: 2016-09-06
2016-09-06 (cnnc.com.cn)


Qian Zhimin, president of the China National Nuclear Corporation, met with Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Sept 3 during the South American leader’s trip to attend the G20 summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

CNNC recently reached a major agreement with the Argentine government to cooperate on building Argentina’s fourth and fifth nuclear power plants, and Qian and Macri took the opportunity to discuss how to push these projects forward.

Macri said that Argentina will work closely with CNNC to make sure the heavy water reactor project is put into operation in 2017 and that construction on the pressurized water reactor project begins in 2019.

The two sides first agreed to cooperate on the two projects at the 2015 G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, where Qian Zhimin signed a framework agreement with José Luis Antunez, president of Argentinian state-run energy company Nucleoeléctrica Argentina S.A. (NASA).

According to the agreement, CNNC will work with NASA on the construction of two nuclear power stations in Argentina. The first will use a Canadian-designed Candu reactor, while the second will contain CNNC’s HPR1000 reactor technology, which China is keen to promote around the world.

During the meeting on Sept 3, Qian gave Macri an update on CNNC’s nuclear power projects in China and overseas . He also expressed CNNC’s eagerness to extend its cooperation with Argentina to the entire nuclear power industry supply chain, and to work together on projects in third-party countries.

Qian also pledged that CNNC will help Argentina improve its whole industry level for the nuclear industry, promote the heavy water reactor and pressurized water reactor projects and improve financing and construction conditions on the projects.

Macri said that he had just held bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He spoke highly of the cooperation between the two countries in the nuclear sector, and expressed the hope that the two sides will be able to move forward on extending cooperation to the entire nuclear industry supply chain and projects in third-party countries within three years.

CNNC has had to work hard to reach this stage. Since first making overtures to Argentina in 2010, the company had to fight off rival bids from competitors and pass through several stages of negotiations before finally confirming the deal with NASA in November 2015.

Since then, the two companies have continued to hold talks on the open-ended contracts and have worked together closely to bring the projects to fruition.

China and Argentina reaffirmed the deal in June 2016, when Argentine energy and mining minister Juan José Aranguren and Nur Bekri, director of China's National Energy Administration, signed a memorandum of understanding at a G20 energy ministers meeting in Beijing.